(Myosotis Palustris) Borage family

Flowers - Pure blue, pinkish, or white, with yellow eye; flat,

5-lobed, borne in many-flowered, long, often 1-sided racemes.

Calyx 5-cleft; the lobes narrow, spreading, erect, and open in

fruit; 5 stamens inserted on corolla tube; style threadlike;

ovary 4-celled. Stem: Low, branching, leafy, slender, hairy,

partially reclining. Leaves: (Myosotis = mouse-ear) oblong,

alternate, seated on stem, hairy. Fruit: Nutlets, angled and

keeled on inner side.

Preferred Habitat - Escaped from gardens to brooksides, marshes,

and low meadows.

Flowering Season - May-July.

Distribution - Native of Europe and Asia, now rapidly spreading

from Nova Scotia southward to New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and


How rare a color blue must have been originally among our flora

is evident from the majority of blue and purple flowers that,

although now abundant here and so perfectly at home, are really

quite recent immigrants from Europe and Asia. But our dryer,

hotter climate never brings to the perfection attained in England

"The sweet forget-me-nots

That grow for happy lovers."

Tennyson thus ignores the melancholy association of the flower in

the popular legend which tells how a lover, when trying to gather

some of these blossoms for his sweetheart, fell into a deep pool,

and threw a bunch on the bank, calling out, as he sank forever

from her sight, "Forget me not." Another dismal myth sends its

hero forth seeking hidden treasure caves in a mountain, under the

guidance of a fairy. He fills his pockets with gold, but not

heeding the fairy's warning to "forget not the best" - i.e., the

myosotis - he is crushed by the closing together of the mountain.

Happiest of all is the folk-tale of the Persians; as told by

their poet Shiraz: "It was in the golden morning of the early

world, when an angel sat weeping outside the closed gates of

Paradise. He had fallen from his high estate through loving a

daughter of earth, nor was he permitted to enter again until she

whom he loved had planted the flowers of the forget-me-not in

every corner of the world. He returned to earth and assisted her,

and together they went hand in hand. When their task was ended,

they entered Paradise together, for the fair woman, without

tasting the bitterness of death, became immortal like the angel

whose love her beauty had won when she sat by the river twining

forget-me-nots in her hair."

It was the golden ring around the forget-me-not's center that

first led Sprengel to believe the conspicuous markings at the

entrance of many flowers served as pathfinders to insects. This

golden circle also shelters the nectar from rain, and indicates

to the fly or bee just where it must probe between stigma and

anthers to touch them with opposite sides of its tongue. Since it

may probe from any point of the circle, it is quite likely that

the side of the tongue that touched a pollen-laden anther in one

flower will touch the stigma in the next one visited, and so

cross-fertilize it. But forget-me-nots are not wholly dependent

on insects. When these fail, a fully mature flower is still able

to set fertile seed by shedding its own pollen directly on the


The SMALLER FORGET-ME-NOT (M. laxa), formerly accounted a mere

variety of palustris, but now defined as a distinct species, is a

native, and therefore may serve to show how its European relative

here will deteriorate in the dryer atmosphere of the New World.

Its tiny turquoise flowers, borne on long stems from a very loose

raceme, gleam above wet, muddy places from Newfoundland and

Eastern Canada to Virginia and Tennessee.

Even smaller still are the blue or white flowers of the FIELD


stems and leaves are covered with bristly hairs. It blooms from

August to July in dry places, even on hillsides, an unusual

locality in which to find a member of this moisture-loving clan.

All the flowers remain long in bloom, continually forming new

buds on a lengthening stem, and leaving behind little empty green



FLOWERING SPURGE FRAGRANT FLOWERS OR LEAVES. facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail