14 Unexpected Fun Facts on Forget-Me-Not
Have you heard about the beautiful forget-me-not plant? What is it exactly? Does it last one year or more? Is it an herb or a houseplant? Is it edible? Is it poisonous to your pets? There is so much to tell about this stunning plant. Some people love it so much that they decide to make a tattoo out of it or wear it as a bracelet. Let’s dive into the 14 interesting facts about this herb that might let you decide to even grow one indoors!
1. Why is It Called Forget-Me-Not?
What are scorpion grasses? Scorpion Grasses, also known as forget-me-not, is an herb of the Myosotis genus and Boraginaceae family. This herb counts 500+ species.
Here is the first confusion.
The scorpion grass should (Myosotis genus) not be confused with the Myosotidium. The latter is a genus given by only one species that looks very similar to the forget-me-not, and it is called giant forget-me-not. If you live in New Zealand is very likely that you have the giant forget-me-not and not scorpion grasses.
Where do scorpion grasses grow? Scorpion grasses grow in the wild, and it is quite widespread in Europe, Asia, North America (Zone 3 to 8), and Australia. Of course, this might depend on the species, but many of the Scorpion grasses grow well in rocky soil, well-drained with little to no shade, as discussed here.
What do scorpion grasses look like? As I said before, there are more than half a thousand different species spread all over the world. Hence, if someone tells you that scorpion grasses look in a very specific way, very likely they are referring to one of the several species (or they do not know what they are talking about).
The flowers of forget-me-not are often (depending on the species) have five petals and blue in color. You can always note a yellow circular “crown” inside the corolla (these are the anther, containing the flower pollen). Depending on the variety of forget-me-nots, the flowers can be white or pink. The flowers grow in small bunches (typically up to 20) at the end of each stem.
The stems of the forget me not can be up to 1 ½ foot tall (around half a meter). They are covered in white hair (around half a centimeter long). The stems are sturdy (woody at the base) and light green in color.
The leaves of forget-me-not are up to 2 inches long (5cm) and covered in the same white hair as the stem.
The places where you can find forget-me-not herbs are extremely diverse (including your garden). If you were living in the USA and went on an excursion, it is very likely that you might have seen some of them. A brief list of areas where forget-me-not herb might grow are:
- Wooded Slopes
- Sandy soils
- Rocks Beds
2. The 4 Legends of Sadness and Remembrance
Probably because of the color of its beautiful and stunning flowers, this herb has quite a few legends surrounding its quite unusual name. As you can guess, those are all related to remembrance. Not surprisingly, these herb seeds and flowers are used for funerals or tragic events. Some companies also sell such seeds in decorated packages to scatter in remembrance of beloved ones. Believe it or not, this is a meaning correlated with one of the old legends.
What are the most common stories associated with forget-me-not?
1. A forgetful God
The first legend around this herb tells of a God that starts naming them after creating every creature on the planet. When he believed to have finished his job, and he was getting ready to leave, a voice stopped him. “What about me?”. Then God turned around and found a very tiny herb, claiming his attention (and a name).
The God, apologetic, decided to call this little herb “forget me not” so as to not forget about it again.
2. Classic Myths By Catherine Judd
Catherine Judd gathered in a book called “Classic Myths,” the stories from many different old books. One such story (of German origin) tells about a young couple that was enjoying a walk on a sunny day on a field. The young lady, during such an enjoyable walk, noticed a tiny blue flower. The boy offered to pick it up for her. However, this flower was on the steep edge of the river. Unfortunately, in the attempt to pick this flower, the boy fell into the river, losing his life. His last words to the young woman were, “do not forget me.” Surely, she did not forget him, and here the name of such a flower.
3. The Blue Eyes of Mary
This is a Christian-related story. Christ, when was a child, expressed the desire that everyone could forever see the beauty of his mother’s eyes. In saying that, the little Christ touched his mother’s eyes to then wash his hands. The water that fell on the ground originated from a tiny blue wildflower that was then named forget-me-not to remember the beauty of Mary’s eyes.
4. Adam and Eve’s Farewell
This is another Christian-related story. Adem and Eve, after being created by God, spent quite a considerable amount of time in the garden of Eden. However, pushed by curiosity, they break the only rule God imposed on them: do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge. This forced God to ban them from the garden as a punishment. When leaving, a small blue flower cried out, “Do not forget me!”. Here is the name of “forget-me-not.”
3. Is Forget-Me Not Invasive?
Forget-me-not or Myosotis is an invasive herb. This is because it has “creeping roots” that allow the pant to cover a wide soil surface area in little time. Common features of many invasive plants.
What to know the best part?
Creeping roots are characteristics of invasive herbs. Indeed, such roots allow them to colonize a large area of soil, leaving no space for any other herbs. That’s why they are so-called invasive herbs.
And there is even more!
Indeed, they produce a large number of seeds, and they have the capability to survive on the soil for many years. This implies that, when you get one, it is very likely that it will spread in all free soil in your garden in a few seasons.
There are several videos showing how it can be removed.
4. Is Forget-Me-Not an Annual or a Perennial?
Among the 500 species of forget me not, there are perennials, annuals, and biennials. Below is a table with how long each forget me not last depending on the specie.
|Forget-Me-Not Species (Scientific Name)||Plant Type|
|Myosotis Blue Ball||Annual or Biennial (depending on the zone)|
|Myosotis Arvensis||Perennial (although most of the time annual as not able to withstand cold temperature)|
Just to remind you, an annual herb is an herb that grows and fully develops (going to seeds, flowering, and dying) in a year. On the other hand, biennials last 2 years (the first year they flower to then seeds the second). Finally perennial can last several years.
The table below, as discussed by RHS, shows the type of the most common forget-me-not.
5. Is Forget Me Not Toxic to Humans and Animals?
There are some species of forget me not that are mildly toxic to animals and humans. Myosotis Sylvatica species is safe for birds, cats, dogs, and reptiles. However, the European forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) and the broadleaf forget-me-not (Myosotis latifolia) are mildly toxic.
This database also states the safety of such herbs for tortoises and reptiles. The toxicity comes from a chemical called pyrrolizidine alkaloids that they contain. Without getting into detail (here for more), this can cause liver damage, especially in children.
But it is not over!
There are a few herbs that look like forget-me-not that, but they are not. Such herbs might be toxic! These are the Chinese forget-me-not (scientifically called Cynoglossum amabile). This is not a forget-me-not herb (although the name here is confusing) indeed belongs to the genus of Cynoglossum (not Myosotis).
Another case to be worried about is the Myosotis latifolia. This is a forget-me-not type of herb.
You should be worried about your indoor plants. Indeed, if you never thought about this, chances are that a few of them are toxic (or slightly toxic) to your dogs. Have a look at the article below for more
6. Can You Grow Forget-Me-Not Indoor?
As strange as it might sound, this herb can also be grown in a pot. This is not unusual as such an herb is quite beautiful, especially the Myosotis sylvatica.
The only thing I would look at is to use a large enough container. Indeed, due to its creeping root system, they require more surface area than a deep container.
Such herbs can easily thrive in a normal potting mix without fertilizer for half a year. Then, you might need to provide it following the guidance of the article below.
7. Forget-Me-Not Candle, Earring, Necklace, Bracelet
The blue, mouse-ear-shaped petals of forget me not are quite well-known for their beautiful and rich blue color to inspire countless bracelets, necklaces, and earring designs.
Here is the best pick
A bracelet from Etsy for a dozen dollars (have a look here) that has a real forget me not inside a small glass sphere. Quite delicate and gentle, this elegant bracelet suits almost any type of dress. The ideal gift to impress your spouse or girlfriend.
This is another bracelet from Etsy. The style here is different. It presents a more large frame with blue touches that reminds the petals of these herbs. It is still quite delicate, but not as much as the previous one. I like this style as well, but I would prefer (as a guy looking for a girl) the previous one. Just my preferences!
Adding a paired necklace to your bracelet is an easy win, also considering their low price. This one, on Etsy, is produced by the same manufacturer of the bracelet mentioned above. It presents the same gentle style and together is definitely a great match that, with a few dollars, makes its impression.
Finally, the lost touch might be a pair of beautiful earrings. These ones on Etsy again follow a similar pattern of a leaf within a shape. In this case, is a gold-colored hexagon, and a few petals are compressed in two thin glass layers.
Fancying a romantic night, and you want some forget-me-not around?
An alternative might be a glass jar candle with some forget-me-not petals inside. When the light is on, they produce some beautiful shadow and color due to the herbs they have safely placed inside. Curious? Check it out here on Etsy. It is also quite inexpensive, definitely a good value for money.
8. Is Forget-Me-Not Essential Oil Beneficial?
Forge-me-not essential oils are generally believed to be highly beneficial for skincare hence their common use in cosmetics. However, a few studies have should that it has other beneficial biological properties, such as resolving inflammation and irritation.
However, forget-me-not essential oils, such as this good one sold on Amazon are, more known for their great smell than for their (unproven) health benefits. Such oils, often mixed with those of other herbs, are applied to the body, hair, face, hands, and nails to improve skin brightness and metabolism as the manufacturer claims.
As detailed in this study from the University of Nicolaus Copernicus University, the essential oils of the forget-me-not analyzed were found to have compounds with “proven biological properties” such as anti-inﬂammatory, antibacterial, and anti-irritant.
Using it for a while, I can guarantee that it smells amazing, and it does help to keep the skin way more moisturized, especially during cold and dry seasons. Also, it lasts long. A few droplets are enough for a long time.
9. Does Forget-Me-Not Flower Twice?
Forget-me-not is a biennial plant that flowers only once, generally in the second year. Forget-me-not dies after flowering. The flower can last several weeks or even months for varieties such as the Alpine one very common in the UK.
I have assisted this year some of my forget me not flower the very first year, however, this again depends on the variety.
10. Forget-Me-Not in Italian, French, German, Spanish
If you are looking to find some information about this herb in other languages, it is important to know how to spell and pronounce the name of such herb properly!
Here you have all the spelling and pronunciation you might need.
Italian – Non ti scordar di me – Pronunciation
French – Ne m’oubliez pas – Pronunciation
Germany – Vergissmeinnicht – Pronunciation
Spanish – No me olvides – Pronunciation
On a side note, remember that its scientific name (Myosotis) can not be translated to other languages. It comes from the Latin word myosōtis (that means mouse ears, due to the shape of the petals). You can find the pronunciation here.
11. The Forget-Me-Not Plant is Often Used in Tattoos
Are you in love with the forget-me-not? What about a tattoo?
Yes, many are so in love with this flower that they decide to go for a small tattoo with them. One of the cooler, in my opinion, is the infinity tattoo. This is the horizontal eight done like the roots and flower of a forget-me-not.
On this Pinterest page, you can find quite a few ideas. These are usually discrete with black and blue as the main color. They are discrete and gentle, a bit like the forget-me-not plant.
12. Where to Find Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Seeds?
Hence, you decided to grow forget-me-not?
Well, in this case, if you have essentially three options:
- Collect an already grown plant: if you are lucky enough to live close to a forget-me-not field, you can easily take one herb from there. Be careful though
- Such herbs are invasive, so they will propagate very fast in your outdoor garden. For indoors, I would not recommend such an approach as the herb might host parasites that you do not see. Those in a pot might overtake the herb quite easily.
- Buy the seeds: this is by far the best option if you want to grow forget-me-not in indoor pots. Seeds can be found relatively easily in retail shops like this one on Amazon for a few dollars. They usually take 2-3 weeks to germinate. The ideal period for them to be planted is around April.
An alternative is to take the seeds from a plant you might find on the field. The only risk is the presence of pests or viruses on the seeds that might affect the grown plant. So I would avoid those and go for seeds from retailers as safe and controlled.
13. When Did Forget-Me-Not Become Alaska’s State Flower?
The alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis alpestris) became Alaska’s official state flower in 1949. This pronouncement was made long before Alaska was even officially recognized as the 49th state of the United States of America.
Alaska was only formally and legally acknowledged as another state in the US in 1959. In other words, the alpine forget-me-not was designated as Alaska’s official flower a decade before the place even became an actual state!
During the time the local authorities were hard at work in 1927, trying to get statehood for Alaska, then-governor George Parks called for a contest to create the prospective state flag. It was open to all children in Alaska between grades 7 and 12.
The winner of the said contest is Benny Benson. His design contained not only a blue field for the forget-me-not and the Alaskan sky, but also the North Star, and the Big Dipper constellation. It was first raised and represented all of Alaska in the same year as the contest.
14. What Does the Forget-Me-Not Symbolize?
According to floriography, or the language of flowers, the forget-me-not symbolizes true love, faithfulness, and remembrance. Additionally, it is used to commemorate the courage, strength, and heroic deeds of soldiers—past and present—in different parts of the world.
Thus, it is often used to celebrate and commemorate related events such as National Grandparents Day and National Missing Children’s Day in the US—as well the International Missing Children’s Day.
A holiday specifically called the Forget-Me-Not Day is also observed to pay respects to all veterans who fought for the country. Interestingly though, it all started as a fund-raising event for the injured and disabled soldiers after World War I.
Meanwhile, a similar holiday called Remembrance Day is commemorated in Canada. It holds specific importance for those who live in Labrador and Newfoundland.
So besides signifying their love and memory for lost family and friends, the forget-me-not also symbolizes the courage and strength of the young soldiers who died in battle.
Are forget me not bouquet used? Yes, forget me not bouquet is used both at weddings and funerals as a symbol of remembrance
Are forget-me-not used as bereavement gifts? Yes, forget me not, as a symbol of remembrance is also used as a gift for the family of the lost ones. These gifts might be in the form of a little crystal house ornament, figurine, notebook, etc.
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