- Name also: Creeping Navelwort, Blue-eyed Mary, (Creeping Forget-me-not)
- Family: Borage Family – Boraginaceae
- Growing form: Perennial herb. Rhizomatous
- Height: 10–20 cm (4–8 in.).
- Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), 8–10 mm (0.3–0.4 in.) wide. Corolla blue, fused, almost wheel-shaped, 5-lobed. Corolla mouth with 5 yellowish protuberances. Calyx fused, to base 5-lobed. Calyx lobes elliptic, spreading in fruit. Stamens 5. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Inflorescence lax, a scorpioid cyme. Lowest flowers with subtending bracts.
- Leaves: Alternate, lowest leaves long-stemmed, stalkless higher up. Blade ovate, tapered, sparsely hairy.
- Fruit: 4-parted schizocarp. Mericarps concave, glossy, hairy, 2 mm (0.08 in.) long, border ciliate.
- Habitat: Gardens, yards, wasteland. Ornamental, sometimes escape.
- Flowering time: (April–)May–June.
Navelwort is a popular garden plant in Finland due to its early flowering time and easy care requirements. This species is native to hedgerows in Southern European mountain forests, but it thrives so well in the north that it has established itself in Finland, too. Other related species do not usually survive in Finland’s long, cold, dark winter. Navelwort spreads by both seed and runners, and it grows mainly in the shade below trees, where the soil retains more moisture.
Navelwort flowers slightly resemble those of other borage family plants, but they are clearly larger. The leaves last long into the autumn and may be mistaken for pansy leaves.
Venus’s navelwort (also known as white-flower navelwort) is a white-flowered (rarely bluish), annual relative of navelwort. The species are quite easy to tell apart by Venus’s navelwort’s narrower leaves, flowers without subtending bracts and mericarps with toothed edges. Venus’s navelwort starts flowering about one month later (in June) than navelwort.
Siberian bugloss is an ornamental flowering early in spring and resembles navelwort. It can be found as an escape near gardens and yards. It is taller, more erect and its flowers are smaller. Both species are good ground covers.