Myosotis arvensis (Field Forget-me-not)
|Also known as:|
|Life cycle:||annual, biennial, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; disturbed soils; roadsides, fields, waste places, gardens|
|Bloom season:||May - June|
|Plant height:||4 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FACU|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Raceme of stalked flowers at the tips of branching stems, the cluster initially tightly curled at the tip with flowers opening in succession as the tip unfurls and elongates. Flowers are about 1/8 inch across, blue or occasionally white, short-tubular with five spreading, round to egg shaped lobes. The base of the lobes has a scale-like swollen appendage that forms a light to bright yellow collar around the throat. Flower stalks are about ¼ inch long, elongating in fruit.
The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is shorter than the stalk and has five narrow lance-triangular lobes that are about as long as the calyx tube. The floral tube is slightly shorter than the calyx, causing the flower to take on a shallow bowl or saucer shape even when fully open. The central stem, flower stalks and the calyx are densely covered in spreading hairs, at least some of which on the lower calyx have minutely hooked tips (hand lens recommended).
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, toothless, the lower leaves mostly broadest above the middle, often stalked, up to 2¼ inches long and 2/3 inch wide, becoming smaller, stalkless and more lance-oblong as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are densely covered in spreading and appressed hairs, with a fringe of hairs all around the edge. Stems are round in cross-section or angled, multiple and branched at the base, erect, becoming widely branched above, densely covered in both spreading and appressed soft hairs.
Fruit is a small three sided, black nutlet hidden inside the persistent calyx; nutlets are longer than the persistent short style.
Field Forget-me-not is one of three non-native Myosotis species now naturalized in Minnesota. While it can be weedy, it appears to only occasionally naturalize and is not commonly encountered, though over all its presence is likely under reported. The five Myosotis species in Minnesota fall into two camps: those with appressed hairs on the calyx, and those with spreading hairs. M. arvensis is in the spreading-hairy group along with the native Spring Forget-me-not (Myosotis verna) and the non-native Wood Forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica). M. verna is distinguished by its typically all-white flowers that lack the yellow eye, plants that are few branched, and in Minnesota is restricted to bedrock outcrops in the central and western parts of the state. M. sylvatica is distinguished by flowers about twice the size of M. arvensis.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken in Cook County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Cook counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?