The Forget-Me-Not, an age-old symbol of friendship and love, is a member of the Borage Family. (Borage means "rough haired" or "woolly"). Its generic name is Myosotis, a combination of two Greek words for mouse and ear, from the short and soft leaves in some species. Since many forget-me-nots' leaves are pubescent or hairy, it is not hard to understand why they are so called. A little more mystifying is the name "scorpion grass", which is applied to one species. It was an ancient English belief that the user of this forget-me-not would not have to be afraid of scorpions. How were the ancients to know that this was because there are no scorpions in England? The name "scorpion grass" also could have been given because of the characteristic of the unopened flower clusters of the forget-me-not to be curled up much like a scorpion's tail. Interesting too, is the fact that the color of the forget-me-not, blue with yellow centers, led scientists to the discovery that bees recognize color, and that the color markings of many flowers serve as pathways to the nectar.
The true forget-me-not is known as Myosotis scorpicides. The corolla of the flower is sky blue with a yellow center, and is a fourth of an inch to a third of an inch across. The calyx lobes are short and hairy. The leaves are one to three inches long, and also are rough and hairy, rooting at the lower nodes. The plant, first introduced from Europe by the Pilgrims, has escaped from cultivation. It does well in wet or damp places. Utahns may be more familiar with Myosotis arvensis (also from Europe), which grows along mountain roadsides in dry, sandy areas.
Myosotis scorpicides has many relatives in the intermountain region. Among them are:
Cryptantha nana
-- six inches high with white, yellow centered flowers.
Cynoglossum officinales
Hound's Tongue, also introduced from Europe
-- two feet tall with dark maroon red flowers.
Hackelia patens
Mertensia ciliata and Mertensia oblongifolia
Mountain Bluebells
-- with nodding bell-like flowers of pink and blue.
Lithospermum incisum and Lithospermum ruderale
-- with flowers that are cream to yellow.
-- by Adrianne Montgomery

Utah Nature Study Society
May 1967
Adapted for
by Sandra Bray

Other Spring Wildflowers
More About the Birds and Bees
Nature Notes -- Thoughts and Observations
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Reports of Some Past Outings and Events
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