- Family: Borage Family – Boraginaceae
- Growing form: Annual herb. Main root short, dark brown.
- Height: 10–25 cm (4–10 in.). Stem branched from base, hair spreading–flush with surface.
- Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in.) wide. Corolla generally blue, fused, funnel-shaped, 5-lobed, funnel mouth with protuberances. Calyx fused, bell-shaped, 5-lobed (deeply), lobes narrow, bending slightly outwards; hairs mainly spreading with hooked ends; calyx 2–3 mm (0.08–0.12 in.) long in fruit, generally open, with carpels easily dropping. Stamens 5, filaments united with corolla funnel. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Inflorescence a scorpioid cyme, becoming racemose; all flowers without subtending bracts. Flower-stalk tightly smooth-haired, after flowering approx. same length as calyx.
- Leaves: Alternate. Basal leaves stalked, stalk winged; stem leaves stalkless. Basal leaves generally wither during flowering. Blade narrowly elliptic–oblanceolate, with entire margin, more straight hairs on underside than upper side.
- Fruit: 4-parted schizocarp. Mericarps egg-shaped, glossy, without wings, light brown, approx. 1.2 mm (0.04 in.) long.
- Habitat: Meadows, rocky terrain, fields, gravel pits, sands.
- Flowering time: May–June.
In spring in Southern Finland rocky outcrops and hilly fields burst out in blue floral sprays as small forget-me-nots reach up towards the sun. Individual flowers are only a couple of millimetres in diameter, but their enormous number can turn the whole landscape blue. If one wants to ascertain the species, forget-me-nots must be inspected more closely, with even a loupe or magnifying glass. The best method is to get down on your knees beside the plant and focus between the flower and the stem. If there is a distinct hairy pedicel between the flower and the peduncle, it’s early forget-me-not.
Early forget-me-not can also be easily confused with strict forget-me-not (M. stricta), although the latter’s flower is almost attached to the stem. The difference is most striking in flowers that have flowered for a long time or are past flowering. There is no need to get confused if both kinds of flower are visible: the species often grow mixed together with each other. The group might also contain a third species, field forget-me-not, (M. arvensis) which blooms later. It is generally clearly bigger, but especially in dry places it can strongly resemble its smaller relatives. Even when it is small, its calyxes are larger and its pedicels can reach twice the size of the calyx. Of the three, early forget-me-not has the most southerly habitat, being mainly found on the Gulf of Finland coast where it brings great delight in the springtime, but the others have spread further. Early forget-me-not is also by nature the clearest dry-meadow plant of the three.