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Myosotis decumbens


  • Family: Borage Family – Boraginaceae
  • Growing form: Perennial herb. Rhizomatous.
  • Height: 15–40 cm (6–16 in.). Stem ascending–erect, branched, hair spreading–flush with surface.
  • Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), 6–8 mm (0.24–0.32 in.) wide. Corolla sapphire, fused, wheel-shaped, 5-lobed, funnel longer than calyx, funnel mouth with protuberances. Calyx fused, 5-lobed, lobed until approx. halfway, lobes narrowly triangular; hairs straight at tip, densely bristly at base, spreading with hooked hairs; calyx 4–5 mm (0.16–0.2 in.) long in fruit, open, with carpels easily dropping. Stamens 5, filaments united with corolla funnel. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Inflorescence a scorpioid cyme, becoming racemose; flowers usually without subtending bracts. Flower-stalk hairs flush with surface, after flowering about twice as long as calyx.
  • Leaves: Alternate. Basal leaves stalked, stalk winged; stem leaves stalkless. Blade lanceolate–narrowly obovate, with entire margin, hairy.
  • Fruit: 4-parted schizocarp . Mericarps egg-shaped, glossy, approx. 2 mm (0.08 in.) long.
  • Habitat: Mountain birch woodland, broad-leaved forests, stream banks, springs, fens.
  • Flowering time: July–August.

As its Finnish name (Lapland forget-me-not) suggests, Myosotis decumbens only grows in Northern Finland, but it can escape the gaze of even studious visitors to the area. The majority of tourist and reindeer paths traverse dry moors: M. decumbens’ favoured habitat includes leafy mountain birch woodland, stream banks and springs. These places are often impassable – wet, tangled thickets – and as such they have nothing to tempt the average hiker. The naturalist who is interested in plants would however be well advised to take a detour off the beaten track in promising looking spots because this northern forget-me-not is one of the most impressive species of our native forget-me-nots.

Wood forget-me-not (M. sylvatica), which is familiar from gardens in Southern Finland and nowadays also for growing rampantly in many natural habitats, is similar to M. decumbens, but usually has an even bigger flower. Additionally, its calyx is lobed virtually to its base, and the hooked hairs at the calyx base are shorter. The finding place already gives a good clue in defining the species: wood forget-me-not doesn’t grow inside the Arctic Circle.

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

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