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Strict Forget-me-not

Myosotis stricta

  • Name also: Small-flowered Forget-me-not
  • Family: Borage Family – Boraginaceae
  • Growing form: Annual herb. Taproot short.
  • Height: 5–20 cm. (2–8 in.) Stem erect, usually branched from base, with spreading, hooked hairs–hair flush with surface, often reddish.
  • Flower: Regular (actinomorphic), 1–2 mm (0.04–0.08 in.) wide. Corolla light blue, fused, funnel-shaped, 5-lobed, protuberances in throat of tube. Calyx fused, narrowly campanulate (bell-shaped), 5-lobed, lobes narrow; hairs mostly hook-tipped; calyx approx. 4 mm (0.16 in.) long in fruiting stage, closed, long-lasting. Stamens 5, filaments fused with calyx-tube. Gynoecium fused, single-styled. Inflorescence a scorpioid cyme, extending to become racemose; lowest flowers with subtending bracts. Flower-stalk with spreading hairs, noticeably shorter than calyx after flowering.
  • Leaves: Basal leaves withering at beginning of flowering phase, short-stalked, stalks winged. Stem leaves alternate, stalkless. Blade obovate–lanceolate–almost linear, with entire margin, upper surface with more straight hairs than underside, underside veins with hooked hairs.
  • Fruit: 4-parted schizocarp. Mericarps egg-shaped, bristly, glossy, narrowly winged, brown, approx. 1.5 mm (0.06 in.) long.
  • Habitat: Rocky outcrops, river banks, dry meadows, meadows, sandy areas, fields, roadsides.
  • Flowering time: May–June.

Forget-me-not’s blue flower is familiar to most people, and as the name suggests the plant is a symbol of love and friendship. It has not always had such a pretty name however: in Sweden it has been known as devil’s eye, and goat’s eye, which was used in Finland, doesn’t sound a whole lot more attractive. Forget-me-nots have been popularly used in folk medicine to treat eye infections. This comes from the Doctrine of Signatures, a belief that the appearance of a plant provided clues to its medicinal properties – and forget-me-not’s corolla is like a blue eye with a pupil. The flower attracts pollinators that are guided by yellow protruberances in the centre of the flower towards its nectar.

Strict forget-me-not is one of Finland’s more noticeable forget-me-nots. It is one of the earliest-blooming small plants on rocky outcrops, and is able to flower, ripen its seeds and die before anyone has noticed. It favours dry habitats and is in a rush to reach the end of its life cycle before the hot days of summer arrive. Strict forget-me-not is, alongside early forget-me-not (M. ramosissima), the smallest of the dozen forget-me-nots that grow in Finland. The easiest way to distinguish them from each other is perhaps the length and position of the fruit-stalk: strict forget-me-not’s fruit stalks are clearly erect and shorter than the calyx, while early forget-me-not’s are around the same length as the calyx and spreading to the side.

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

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