Myosotis (/ˌməˈstɪs/ MY-ə-SOH-tiss[2]) is a genus of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae. The name comes from the Ancient Greek μυοσωτίς "mouse's ear", which the foliage is thought to resemble.[3] In the northern hemisphere they are colloquially known as forget-me-nots[4] or scorpion grasses. Myosotis alpestris is the official flower of Alaska[5] and Dalsland, Sweden. Plants of the genus are commonly confused with Chatham Islands' forget-me-nots, which belong to the related genus Myosotidium.

Myosotis arvensis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Clade: Tracheophytes
Clade: Angiosperms
Clade: Eudicots
Clade: Asterids
Order: Boraginales
Family: Boraginaceae
Subfamily: Boraginoideae
Genus: Myosotis
Type species
Myosotis scorpioides
L. [1]


The genus was originally described by Carl Linnaeus. The type species is Myosotis scorpioides. Myosotis species are annual or perennial herbaceous flowering plants with pentamerous actinomorphic flowers with 5 sepals and petals.[3] Flowers are typically 1 cm in diameter or less, flatly faced, coloured blue, pink, white or yellow with yellow centres and borne on scorpioid cymes. The foliage is alternate, and their roots are generally diffuse. They typically flower in spring or soon after the melting of snow in alpine ecosystems.

The seeds are contained in small, tulip-shaped pods along the stem to the flower. The pods attach to clothing when brushed against and eventually fall off, leaving the small seed within the pod to germinate elsewhere. Seeds can be collected by placing a sheet of paper under stems and shaking the seed pods onto the paper.

Myosotis scorpioides is colloquially called scorpion grass because of the spiraling curvature of its inflorescence.[3]


The genus is largely restricted to western Eurasia, with approximately 60 confirmed species, and New Zealand with approximately 40 endemic species.[6] A few species occur elsewhere including North America, South America, and Papua New Guinea.[4] Despite this, Myosotis species are now common throughout temperate latitudes because of the introduction of cultivars and alien species. Many are popular in horticulture. They prefer moist habitats. In locales where they are not native, they frequently escape to wetlands and riverbanks. Only those native to the Northern hemisphere are colloquially denominated "forget-me-nots".

One or two European species, especially Myosotis sylvatica, the "woodland" forget-me-nots, have been introduced into most of the temperate regions of Europe, Asia, and the Americas.

Genetic analysis indicates that the genus originated in the northern hemisphere, and that species native to New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea and South America form a lineage of closely related species that are likely derived from a single dispersal event to the southern hemisphere.[4][7]


Hover fly (Sphaerophoria scripta) feeding on Myosotis flower

Myosotis are food for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including the setaceous Hebrew character. Many of the species in New Zealand are threatened.[8]


Of more than 510 recorded species names, only 152 species are presently accepted, listed below.[9] The remainder are either synonyms or hybrids of presently accepted or proposed names.[10][11]

  • Myosotis abyssinica Boiss. & Reut.
  • Myosotis afropalustris C.H. Wright
  • Myosotis albicans  Riedl
  • Myosotis albiflora Banks & Sol. ex Hook.f.
  • Myosotis albosericea Hook.f.
  • Myosotis alpestris F.W.Schmidt (alpine forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis amabilis Cheeseman
  • Myosotis ambigens (Bég.) Grau
  • Myosotis angustata Cheeseman
  • Myosotis anomala  Riedl
  • Myosotis antarctica Hook.f.
  • Myosotis arnoldii L.B.Moore
  • Myosotis arvensis (L.)Hill (field forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis asiatica (Vestergr. ex Hultén) Schischk. & Serg. (Asiatic forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis atlantica  Vestergr.
  • Myosotis australis R.Br.
  • Myosotis austrosibirica  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis azorica H.C.Watson (Azores forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis baicalensis  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis balbisiana Jord.
  • Myosotis bothriospermoides Kitag.
  • Myosotis brachypoda  Gren.
  • Myosotis brevis de Lange & Barkla
  • Myosotis brockiei L.B.Moore & M.J.A.Simpson
  • Myosotis bryonoma Meudt, Prebble & Thorsen
  • Myosotis butorinae  Stepanov
  • Myosotis cadmea Kitag
  • Myosotis cameroonensis  Cheek & R.Becker
  • Myosotis capitata Hook.f.
  • Myosotis chaffeyorum Lehnebach
  • Myosotis chakassica  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis cheesemanii Petrie
  • Myosotis × cinerascens Petrie
  • Myosotis colensoi (Kirk) J.F.Macbr.
  • Myosotis concinna Cheeseman
  • Myosotis congesta  Shuttlew.
  • Myosotis corsicana  (Fiori) Grau
  • Myosotis czekanowskii (Trautv.) Kamelin & V.N.Tikhom.
  • Myosotis daralaghezica  T.N.Popova
  • Myosotis debilis  Pomel
  • Myosotis decumbens Host
  • Myosotis diminuta  Grau
  • Myosotis discolor Pers. (changing forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis densiflora C. Koch
  • Myosotis dissitiflora  Baker
  • Myosotis ergakensis  Stepanov
  • Myosotis exarrhena F.Muell.
  • Myosotis eximia Petrie
  • Myosotis explanata Cheeseman
  • Myosotis forsteri Lehm.
  • Myosotis gallica  Vestergr.
  • Myosotis galpinii  C.H.Wright
  • Myosotis glabrescens L.B.Moore
  • Myosotis glauca (G.Simpson & J.S.Thomson) de Lange & Barkla
  • Myosotis goyenii Petrie
  • Myosotis graminifolia  DC.
  • Myosotis graui  Selvi
  • Myosotis guneri  A.P.Khokhr.
  • Myosotis heteropoda  Trautv.
  • Myosotis hikuwai Meudt, Prebble & G.M.Rogers
  • Myosotis imitata  Serg.
  • Myosotis incrassata Guss.
  • Myosotis jenissejensis  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis jordanovii  N.Andreev & Peev
  • Myosotis kamelinii  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis kazakhstanica  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis kebeshensis  Stepanov
  • Myosotis keniensis  T.C.E.Fr.
  • Myosotis koelzii  Riedl
  • Myosotis kolakovskyi  A.P.Khokhr.
  • Myosotis krasnoborovii  O.D.Nikif. & Lomon.
  • Myosotis krylovii Serg.
  • Myosotis kurdica  Riedl
  • Myosotis laeta Cheeseman
  • Myosotis laingii Cheeseman
  • Myosotis latifolia Poir. (broadleaf forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis laxa Lehm. (tufted forget-me-not or bay forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis lazica  Popov
  • Myosotis lithospermifolia Hornem.
  • Myosotis lithuanica  (Schmalh.) Besser ex Dobrocz.
  • Myosotis litoralis  Steven ex M.Bieb.
  • Myosotis ludomilae  Zaver.
  • Myosotis lyallii Hook.f.
  • Myosotis macrantha (Hook.f.) Benth. & Hook.f.
  • Myosotis macrosiphon  Font Quer & Maire
  • Myosotis macrosperma Engelm. (largeseed forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis magniflora  A.P.Khokhr.
  • Myosotis margaritae  Štěpánková
  • Myosotis maritima  Hochst. ex Seub.
  • Myosotis martini  Sennen
  • Myosotis matthewsii L.B.Moore
  • Myosotis michaelae  Štěpánková
  • Myosotis micrantha  Pall. ex Lehm.
  • Myosotis minutiflora Boiss. & Reut.
  • Myosotis monroi Cheeseman (Monro's forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis nemorosa Besser
  • Myosotis nikiforovae  Stepanov
  • Myosotis ochotensis  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis olympica  Boiss.
  • Myosotis oreophila Petrie
  • Myosotis pansa (L.B.Moore) Meudt, Prebble, R.J.Stanley & Thorsen
  • Myosotis paucipilosa  (Grau) Ristow & Hand
  • Myosotis persoonii  Georges RouyRouy & E.G.Camus
  • Myosotis petiolata Hook.f.
  • Myosotis platyphylla Boiss.
  • Myosotis popovii  Dobrocz.
  • Myosotis pottsiana (L.B.Moore) Meudt, Prebble, R.J.Stanley & Thorsen
  • Myosotis propinqua  (Turcz.) Fisch. & C.A.Mey.
  • Myosotis pulvinaris Hook.f.
  • Myosotis pusilla  Loisel.
  • Myosotis radix-palaris  A.P.Khokhr.
  • Myosotis ramosissima Rochel (early forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis rakiura L.B.Moore
  • Myosotis refracta  Boiss.
  • Myosotis rehsteineri  (Hausm.) Wartm. ex Reut.
  • Myosotis retrorsa Meudt, Prebble & Hindmarsh-Walls
  • Myosotis rivularis (Vestergr.) A.P. Khokhr
  • Myosotis robusta  D.Don
  • Myosotis sajanensis  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis saxatilis Petrie
  • Myosotis saxosa Hook.f.
  • Myosotis schistosa  A.P.Khokhr.
  • Myosotis schmakovii  O.D.Nikif.
  • Myosotis scorpioides (L.) (true forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis secunda Al.Murray (creeping forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis semiamplexicaulis DC.
  • Myosotis sicula Guss. (Jersey forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis solange  Greuter & Zaffran
  • Myosotis soleirolii  Godr.
  • Myosotis sparsiflora J.C.Mikan ex Pohl
  • Myosotis spatulata G.Forst.
  • Myosotis speciosa  Auguste PomelPomel
  • Myosotis speluncicola Schott ex Boiss
  • Myosotis stenophylla Knaf
  • Myosotis stolonifera(J.Gay ex DC.) J.Gay ex Leresche & Levier
  • Myosotis stricta Link ex Roem. & Schult.
  • Myosotis suavis Petrie
  • Myosotis subcordata  Riedl
  • Myosotis sylvatica Ehrh. ex Hoffm. (wood forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis tenericaulis Petrie
  • Myosotis taverae  Valdés
  • Myosotis tineoi  C.Brullo & Brullo
  • Myosotis traillii  Kirk
  • Myosotis traversii Hook.f.
  • Myosotis tuxeniana  (O.Bolòs & Vigo) O.Bolòs & Vigo
  • Myosotis ucrainica  Czern.
  • Myosotis ultramafica Meudt, Prebble & Rance
  • Myosotis umbrosa Meudt, Prebble & Thorsen
  • Myosotis uniflora Hook.f.
  • Myosotis urceolaris  Shuttlew.
  • Myosotis venosa Colenso
  • Myosotis venticola Meudt & Prebble
  • Myosotis verna Nutt. (spring forget-me-not)
  • Myosotis vestergrenii  Stroh
  • Myosotis welwitschii Boiss. & Reut.
  • Myosotis wumengensis  L.Wei


The small blue forget-me-not flower was first used by the Grand Lodge Zur Sonne, in 1926, as a Masonic emblem at the annual convention in Bremen, Germany. In 1938, a forget-me-not badge—made by the same factory as the Masonic badge—was chosen for the annual Nazi Party Winterhilfswerk, the annual charity drive of the National Socialist People's Welfare, the welfare branch of the Nazi party. This coincidence enabled Freemasons to wear the forget-me-not badge as a secret sign of membership.[12][13]

After World War II, the forget-me-not flower was used again as a Masonic emblem in 1948 at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany. The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all who suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era.[14]

The flower is also used as a symbol of remembrance by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is used to commemorate those from the province who were killed in the First World War, and worn around July 1.

It is also used in Germany to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the world wars in a similar manner to the use of remembrance poppies in the UK.

The flower is also the symbol for the Armenian Genocide's 100th anniversary. The design of the flower is a black dot symbolising the past, and the suffering of Armenian people. The light purple appendages symbolise the present, and unity of Armenians. The 5 purple petals symbolise the future, and the five continents Armenians escaped to. The yellow in the centre symbolises eternity, and the Tsitsernakaberd itself symbolises the 12 provinces lost to Turkey.[15]

In Lithuania the flower has become one of the symbols for the commemoration of the January Events of 1991.[16]

In The Netherlands, the forget-me-not has become a symbol for Alzheimer Nederland, a foundation advocating for people suffering from dementia.

In New Zealand, the Forget-Me-Not is the symbol for Alzheimers New Zealand, the foundation advocating for people suffering from Alzheimer's Disease and dementia.[17]

In history of art, the forget-me-not is used to remember loved ones who have passed away. It is therefore very common in funerary portraits.


  1. Lehnebach, C. (2012). "Lectotypification of three species of forget-me-nots (Myosotis: Boraginaceae) from Australasia". Tuhinga. 23: 17–28.
  2. "Myosotis". Oxford English Dictionary (Online ed.). Oxford University Press. (Subscription or participating institution membership required.)
  3. Chisholm, Hugh, ed. (1911). "Forget-me-not" . Encyclopædia Britannica. Vol. 10 (11th ed.). Cambridge University Press. p. 663.
  4. Winkworth, Richard C.; Grau, Jürke; Robertson, Alastair W.; Lockhart, Peter J. (2002). "The Origins and Evolution of the Genus Myosotis L. (Boraginaceae)" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 24 (2): 180–93. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00210-5. PMID 12144755.
  5. "Alaska Kid's Corner". State of Alaska. Retrieved 2016-05-21.
  6. "Flora of New Zealand | Taxon Profile | Myosotis".
  7. Meudt, Heidi M.; Prebble, Jessica M.; Lehnebach, Carlos A. (2014-11-07). "Native New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) comprise a Pleistocene species radiation with very low genetic divergence". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 301 (5): 1455–1471. doi:10.1007/s00606-014-1166-x. ISSN 0378-2697. S2CID 14686750.
  8. Lehnebach, Carlos A. (2012-08-21). "Two new species of forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) from New Zealand". PhytoKeys (16): 53–64. doi:10.3897/phytokeys.16.3602. PMC 3492931. PMID 23233811.
  9. "Myosotis L.". Plants of the world online. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  10. "Species in Myosotis". The Plant List. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Retrieved 1 September 2022.
  11. "Home". Retrieved 2019-11-24.
  12. "Das Vergissmeinnicht-Abzeichen und die Freimaurerei". (in German). Archived from the original on 2019-05-02. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  13. Bernheim, Alain. ""The Blue Forget-Me-Not": Another Side of the Story". Pietre-Stones Review of Freemasonry. Archived from the original on 2019-01-30. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  14. "The Story Behind Forget Me Not Emblem!". Masonic Network Blog. 2009-12-11. Archived from the original on 2019-04-04. Retrieved 2019-07-21.
  15. "Հայոց ցեղասպանության 100-րդ տարելիցի խորհրդանիշը անմոռուկ ծաղիկն է, կարգախոսը՝ "Հիշում եմ և պահանջում"". (in Armenian). Armenpress. Archived from the original on 2014-05-28. Retrieved 2021-02-28.
  16. "Flower of discord: Lithuanian politicians clash over forget-me-not symbol". 2020-02-04. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  17. "Home". Alzheimers New Zealand. Retrieved 2021-06-15.
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