Forget-me-not - (Myosotis scorpioides)


Common Name: Forget-me-not
Scientific Name: Myosotis scorpioides
Family: Forget-me-not (Boraginaceae)
Other Common Names: True Forget-me-not, Scorpion Weed, Love-me, Marsh Scorpion Grass, Mouse-Ear Scorpion Grass, Snake Grass
Flower Color: Light blue with yellow center
Habitat: Wet soils, near lakes and rivers and sometimes in shallow water
General Bloom Dates: May - September

General Characteristics:
The Forget-me-not flower has five, bright blue, regular petals that surround a yellow center. The flower is 1/2" wide. The flowers grow near the end of the stem, each having its own short stalk off of the main stem. When the plant first emerges the stem is curled at the end; when the flowers begin to bloom the stem uncurls. The stem grows 6"-12" high. The simple leaves grow in an alternate pattern along the stem. Leaves are lance-shaped and are 1-2" long. Both the leaves and stem are covered in fine hair. Forget-me-nots grow in mats with a widespread root system.
Plant Lore:
There are four species of Forget-me-nots in Minnesota. There are both native and non-native species, but the Myosotis scorpioides is from Europe. It escaped from gardens and found suitable habitat. The plant's scientific name and common name have several interesting theories on their origin. The scientific name, Myosotis, means mouse ear, which describes the size and shape of the petal. Its species name, scorpiodes, and the common name "Scorpion Weed", are from the coiled plant stem that resembles a scorpion tail. This appearance led people to believe this flower was a remedy for scorpion stings; however, this claim has never been validated. The common name may have originated from an unpleasant edible experience that was hard to forget (these plants taste bad), or may have a more heartfelt meaning. It's said that whomever wore this flower wouldn't be forgotten by his or her lover. There are two stories that illustrate the flower's significance among lovers and explain the common name, although both have tragic endings. In the first story, a suitor was picking this flower for his love and saw the perfect specimen. It was close to the cliff's edge but he reached for it anyway. Losing his balance, the man plummeted over the cliff, shouting, "Forget me not!" as he fell. The second story originates in Germany. A knight and his lovely lady were walking along a riverbank. He was picking this flower for her when he tripped and fell into the river. Before he went under he threw the small bouquet to her and shouted "vergiss mein nicht", the German name of the flower.

Modern Uses of this Plant:
The Forget-me-not is used today in gardens and along walkways.