- The forsythia shrub that sprouts handsome brilliant yellow flowers, is a genus of the olive family, and is among the earliest harbingers of spring. It grows as high as nine feet, and has spreading arched branches. It is sometimes called the golden bell because its yellow flowers are shaped like tiny, golden bells, which grow in clusters and bloom before the leaves appear. The forsythia is easily grown in almost any garden soil. William Forsyth (1737-1804), superintendent of the Royal Gardens at Kensington in London during the reign of George III, introduced many beautiful ornamental plants that had never before grown in England. Among the most popular was a plant named in his honor—the forsythia. The plant was native to China but was domesticated in Great Britain at the beginning of the nineteenth century. Gardeners have welcomed this plant because it is easy to propagate, needs little attention, and thrives in partial shade.
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.