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Deflexed Bur Forget-me­-not

Lappula deflexa

  • Family: Borage Family – Boraginaceae
  • Growing form: Annual or biennial herb. Taproot small, sometimes thick, dark reddish brown.
  • Height: 20–60 cm (8–25 in.). Stem ascending–erect, lower part branched, round–slightly angled, soft-haired.
  • Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), 3–5 mm (0.12–0.2 in.) wide. Corolla light blue or sometimes white, fused, funnel-shaped, 5-lobed. 5 low protruberances in corolla throat. Calyx fused, 5-lobed almost till base, hair flush with surface. Calyx lobes recurved (deflexed) in fruiting stage, 2–3 mm (0.08–0.12 in.) long. Stamens 5. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Inflorescence a scorpioid cyme. All flowers with subtending bracts.
  • Leaves: Alternate. Rosette leaves and lowest stem leaves short-stalked, stalks narrowly winged; upper leaves stalkless. Blade elliptic–lanceolate–narrowly obovate.
  • Fruit: 4-parted schizocarp. Mericarps pear-shaped, brown, 3–5 mm (0.12–0.2 in.) long (without spines), row of hook-tipped bristles along edge, wide-based spines. Fruit-stalk longer than calyx, nodding.
  • Habitat: Rocky outcrops, gravel slopes, rock walls, rocky broad-leaved forests. Calciphile.
  • Flowering time: July–August.
  • Endangerment: Endangered, protected in all of Finland.

Deflexed bur forget-me-not grows mainly in the north, but it cannot be called a true fell plant. Its habitats are often far from the fell zone, and it is even known to grow in southern Finland. It favours south-facing shelves on rock walls, fissures, rocks and crags. These places are often warm, sunny and dry, and other vegetation is usually low and fragmented. The species is also fussy with regards to soil: only calciferous rock material will do. Its richest and most abundant stands are in places that are regularly fertilized by animals. If one finds a thriving deflexed bur forget-me-not, one can be almost positive that a rough-legged buzzard or some other bird of prey has nested nearby: its droppings will have originally added the nitrogen to the land.

There are three species of genus Lappula growing in Finland: deflexed bur forget-me-not, bur forget-me-not (L. squarrosa) and margined stickseed (L. marginata), which grows only casually. They look very like forget-me-nots (Myosotis), but there are clear differences in the flowers, which on genus Lappula plants are more funnel-shaped and paler than they normally are on forget-me-nots. The best identification marker, however, is revealed only in the fruiting stage: while forget-me-not carpels are glossy, genus Lappula plants have an abundance of barbed spines. The genus’s scientific name roughly means “little burdock”, and the fruits have the same ability to stick in the same way as greater burdock’s capitula.

Other species from the same genus
Other species from the same family

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