Forget-Me-Nots

Photo copyright Lauretta Jones

You may be more familiar with the name of this diminutive bloomer than with the actual plant itself, for these are the tiny blue blossoms of Forget-Me-Not, barely 1/4 inch across. When I first stumbled on these little plants at Angle Fly, I assumed they were garden escapees, since I knew that the Forget-Me-Nots we grow in our gardens were imported from Europe.

However a friend pushed me to investigate further, suggesting they may instead be a native species. Since our fields, roadsides, and woods are so overrun with alien and invasive plants, I always find it heartening to run into a true native. So I eagerly returned with my 10-power magnifying lens and a highly technical plant reference. Very nerdy, I know. I had to check the glossary every two or three words to understand the plant descriptions. But I did manage to discover that this little plant was in fact a native species.

This plant has a variety of common names: Bay Forget-Me-Not, Tufted Forget-Me-Not, Small-Flowered Forget-Me-Not. The confusion created by having so many names for one thing is what prompted scientists several centuries ago to adopt the two-part names derived from Latin and Greek. This little Forget-Me-Not is formally known as Myosotis laxa.

If you wade into the tall grasses along the edge of the old farm pond where it grows, remember to tuck your pants into your socks to deter potential ticks. Kneel down and you will see how the stem tip with the unopened buds curls up like a scorpion’s tail.

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