Myosotis scorpioides (True Forget-me-not)
|Also known as:||Water Forget-me-not, Water Scorpion Grass|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist to wet; shallow water, streams, seeps, lakeshores, wet ditches|
|Bloom season:||May - September|
|Plant height:||6 to 20 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|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 ¼ to 1/3 inch across, bright to pale blue, tubular with 5 spreading, round to egg shaped lobes. The base of the lobes has a scale-like swollen appendage that forms a bright to deep 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 triangular lobes that are shorter than the calyx tube. The floral tube is longer than the calyx, causing the flower to be flat or even convex across the top. The central stem, flower stalks and the calyx are sparsely to moderately covered in straight, appressed hairs.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, the lower leaves mostly broadest above the middle, rounded at the tip, narrowed at the base to a short stalk, 1 to 3 inches long and ¼ to ¾ inch wide, becoming smaller, stalkless or nearly so, and more lance-oblong as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are sparsely to moderately covered in short appressed hairs, edges are toothless and may have a sparse fringe of hairs especially near the base.
Stems are round in cross-section or angled, multiple from the base, creeping to erect, often rooting at the nodes and creating dense colonies from spreading runners (stolons). Stems become widely branched in the upper plant, variously covered in appressed hairs, sometimes spreading hairs.
Fruit is four parted, (a schizocarp) hidden inside the persistent calyx, splitting into four dark, shiny, egg shaped nutlets (mericarps) less than 1/10 inch long, the persistent style in the center is equal to or longer than the nutlets.
True Forget-me-not is by far the most common Forget-me-not species encountered in Minnesota and one of three non-native Myosotis species in the state. An aggressive invader of lake margins, shallow woodland pools and small streams, it can form dense mats, choking out most other species. The five Myosotis species in the state fall into two camps: those with appressed hairs on the calyx, and those with spreading hairs. M. scorpioides is in the appressed-hairy group along with the native Smaller Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa). Both share a similar wetland habitat but M. laxa is distinguished by its more spindly growth, lack of stolons, calyx lobes about as long as the tube, and flowers about half the size of M. scorpioides.
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- True Forget-me-not plant
- a clump of True Forget-me-not
- a mat of True Forget-me-not
- establishing on a lakeshore
- roadside True Forget-me-not with other weeds
- in competition with the rare Berula erecta at Pine Bend SNA
- invasion in slow-moving water
- lower stem and leaves
- convex flowers from the side
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Cook, Lake and Washington Counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Cass County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?