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Plant Profile: White forsythia (Abeliophyllum distichum)

abeliophyllum_distichum_flNative to a small area in central Korea, this deciduous shrub is considered “critically endangered’ in the wild but is a popular garden plant in cultivation. It produces clusters of small almond scented flowers in very early spring on leafless purple black stems. The flowers have four white to pinkish petals and yellow stamens. The leaves are glossy and dark green. White forsythia is a member of the olive family and related to more familiar yellow forsythia which it resembles. Stems bearing flower buds can be forced for a winter display. A pale pink cultivar, ‘Roseum’, is available.

Type: Deciduous shrub

Outstanding Feature: Flowers in very early spring

Form: Sprawling

Growth Rate: Slow to moderate

Bloom: Racemes of small white to slightly pinkish flowers appear in very early spring.

Size: 3-10’ H x 3-10’ W

Light: Full sun; tolerates some shade

Soil: Fertile, medium moist, well drained; does not tolerate drought.

Hardiness: Zones 5-9

Care: Prune after flowering removing up to one third of the canes as needed. Hard pruning every three to four years controls twiginess.

Pests and Diseases: None of significance

Propagation: Semi-ripe cuttings in mid-summer; layering in summer.

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