true-forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides)
marsh scorpion grass
mouse-ear scorpion grass
The common name may have originated from an unpleasant edible exper-
ience 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 for-
gotten 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.
Myosotis palustris (L.) Hill
CONFIRMATION STATUS: Pending confirmation.
TAXONOMY: The currently accepted scientific name of true-forget-me-
not is Myosotis scorpioides L. 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 thepetal.
Its species name, scorpiodes, and the common name "scorpionweed", 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; how-
ever, this claim has never been validated.
NATIVE STATUS: Introduced, United States and Canada.
GENERAL BOTANICAL CHARACTERISTICS:
Habit: True-forget me-not is an herbaceous perennial that grows 20-60cm
(8-20 in.) inheight. The stem is gener-ally unbranched, angled and is often
covered with rough, stiff, sharp hairs.
Leaves: The leaves of this plant are pubescent and evergreen. The lower
leaves are usually oblanceolate while its other leaves are usually more ob-
long orelliptic. These leaves are obtuse and narrow at the base, leaves ses-
sile tothe stem. They are 1-3 in. long and 0.25-0.75 in. wide. The simple
leavesgrow in an alternate pattern along the stem.
Flowers: The flowers grow near the endof the stem, each having its own
short stalk off of the main stem. When theplant first emerges the stem is
curled or coiled at the end, raceme-like andmany flowered; when the flow-
ers begin to bloom the stem uncurls. Thesmall flowers are five, bright blue
(rarely white), regular petals that sur-round a yellow center. They are flat
and measure 0.25 in. wide. Thepedicel is longer than the calyx, which is
covered with rough, stiff, sharphairs. There are no bracts and five stamens.
Fruit/Seeds: The nutlets, which containthe seeds, are angled and keeled
on the inner side, black, marginal rim faint, smooth, shiny, scar lateral, at
Roots: This plant often creeps, and has fibrous roots or stolons and will
grow in mats with a widespread, diffused root system.
REGENERATION PROCESS: True-forget-me-not propogates itself
by reseedsing. Since these plants are often found in shallow streams, their
seeds can be moved by water.
HABITAT TYPES: True-forget-me-not naturalizes in wet places,often
along the banks of streams, floodplains, herbaceous wetlands, lakesand
ponds, rivers and streams, drainage ditches, wet meadows, well-watered
yards and gardens. True foret-me-not is a garden escape nownaturalized
throughout much of the United States and can be aggressiveunder the
SITE CHARACTERISTICS: The single most important site character-
istic for true-forget-me-not is moisture - it strongly prefers moist soils if
ot standing water sources.
SEASONAL DEVELOPMENT: Flowering time is generally from May
GENERAL DISTRIBUTION: True-forget-me-not is a species of both
the eastern United States and Canada and the western United States and
Canada, but mostly absent from the Great Plains region. Although not yet
recorded in Florida or South Carolina, it is primarily from Texas north to
Alberta and Saskatchewan that true-forget-me-not has yet to occur (this
plant is spreading, however, and may very well soon occupy these regions).
SKY MEADOWS DISTRIBUTION: To be determined.
IMPORTANCE AND USES: Faunal relationships with true-forget-me-
not is not completely understood; however, it is known to attract butterflies.
True-forget-me-not is primarily used as an ornamental, particularly in gar-
dens and along walkway
Crooked Run Valley