forget Me Not

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forget Me Not
Forest forget-me-nots (Myosotis sylvatica)

Forest forget-me-nots ( Myosotis sylvatica )

Euasterids I
Family : Boraginaceae (Boraginaceae)
Subfamily : Boraginoideae
Tribe : Myosotideae
Genre : forget Me Not
Scientific name

Forget-me-not ( Myosotis ) is a plant genus of the family of Borage Family (Boraginaceae). Varieties of some species are used as ornamental plants . The popular name probably comes from a German saga from the Middle Ages, according to which the little plant asked God not to forget it, and is translated into numerous other languages, such as Forget-me-not in English, as Ne m'oubliez pas in French or as 勿忘 我 ( Wùwàngwǒ ) in Chinese.


Illustration of the swamp forget-me-not ( Myosotis scorpioides )

Vegetative characteristics

The forget-me-not species are annual or perennial herbaceous plants . The stems are usually elongated. The aboveground parts of the plant are short hairy or hairless. The alternate leaves are entire and usually hairy.

Generative traits, pollination and dispersal biology

The flowers are usually in paired coils . They have little or no bracts . The peduncle is elongated after flowering. The flowers are radial symmetry and five-fold with a double perianth . The five sepals are fused together like a bell or funnel. The calyx is regularly five-lobed and in some species enlarges after the flowering period. The five-fold, mostly saucer-shaped, rarely bell-shaped to funnel-shaped crown is fused at the base. The petals are blue to violet, rarely yellow, white or pink, and in the bud position they are unidirectionally twisted to cover each other: they show sinistrors-contorte estivation - in contrast to the situation in Gedenkemein . The five gullet scales are bare, yellow or white. The five stamens, like the stylus, usually do not protrude from the corolla tube. The anthers are egg-shaped to elliptical. The scar is heady. The flowers are usually hermaphroditic and homogamous. Some species also produce purely female, gynodiacally distributed flowers, that is, there are plants with hermaphroditic and plants with purely female flowers. Pollinators are diptera , hymenoptera and butterflies . Self-pollination is possible. Many small-flowered species produce self-fertilizing ( autogamous ) flowers.

The four partial fruits of the Klausenfrucht are broadly lanceolate to ovate in outline, upright, more or less flattened and usually angular. The surface of the partial fruits is smooth and shiny, of brownish, black or rarely greenish color. Sometimes an elaiosome is also formed. The spread of the partial fruits takes place through various mechanisms: The protruding hairy calyx can stick to animals ( epizoochory ), the species with elaiosomes are spread by ants ( myrmecochory ). Endozoochory or spread by the wind ( anemochory ) are rare .


The genus Myosotis is common in Europe, Asia, Africa, Australia and North America. In South America only Myosotis albiflora occurs in the extreme south.


Alpine forget-me-nots ( Myosotis alpestris )
Colorful forget-me-nots ( Myosotis discolor )
Hill forget-me-nots ( Myosotis ramosissima )
Lake Constance forget-me-nots ( Myosotis rehsteineri )
Swamp forget-me-nots ( Myosotis scorpioides )
Myosotis stolonifera
Sand forget-me-nots ( Myosotis stricta )

Myosotis comes from the Greek and means "mouse ear". Pliny used it to describe a species of plant that cannot be identified in detail with leaves similar to mouse ears. It is commonly assumed that Carl von Linné , who gave the genus its name, was guided by systematic points of view and was reminded of mouse ears when looking at the forget-me-not leaves. This thesis is questioned by botanists such as Helmut Genaust , because, in his opinion, the leaves are clearly spatulate to linear in shape and in no way resemble mouse ears. Linnaeus must therefore have taken the name from the vernacular from another family of plants.

The German plant name "Vergissmeinnicht" has been attested since the 15th century . According to Friedrich Kluge , the name derives from an old tradition : Because the blue flowers are reminiscent of the eyes of people who have just fallen in love, according to popular belief , forget-me-nots were often given away as a token of love and loyalty, usually from man to woman. This is why the name Fridiles auga ("eye of the beloved") is found in Old High German scripts as a plant name. However, the name "forget-me-not" was used earlier for the plant species Veronica chamaedrys ("germander speedwell"). The reason for this was the rapid perishability of the flowers and their easy breaking off, which was compared with the faithlessness that was said to be of men. Conversely, it is also narrated that the flowers should remind the woman of her lover and her promised loyalty. Forget-me-nots and honorary prizes were also called “loyal to men” in earlier times (today the plant species is called Lobelia erinus ). Other common names are "frog eyes" and "cat's eye", the latter in turn rather means the speedwell.


The valid first publication of the generic name Myosotis was in 1753 by Carl von Linné in Species Plantarum . Lectotype is Myosotis scorpioides L.

The genus Myosotis belongs to the tribe Myosotideae in the subfamily Boraginoideae within the family of Boraginaceae . There are around 50 Myosotis species worldwide , 41 of which are also found in Europe.

The species found in Central Europe are:

The other species found in Europe and the Mediterranean are:

Other types (selection):

Close up of forget-me-not flowers


Varieties of some species are used as an ornamental plant in parks and gardens. Up until the 19th century there was practically no distinction between the individual species. Since the 16th century, the swamp forget-me-not, more rarely the field forget-me-not, has been depicted. In the older writings, the forget-me-not is always referred to as a wild plant. Forget-me-nots were grown as garden ornamental plants in England and Germany from around 1830. The so-called garden forget-me-not has its origin in the forest forget-me-not ( Myosotis sylvatica ). A number of varieties have emerged since the second half of the 19th century.

Berlin special postage stamp from 1977


  • The forget-me-not is a symbol of tender memories as well as a farewell in love. The forget-me-not has a name with the same meaning in many languages. Corresponding legends are often included.
  • The bloom of the forget-me-not serves as a stylized reminder of the German war dead of the First World War. The Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge e. V. uses it in this sense with its logo in the center. In the former British Dominion Newfoundland , the forget-me-not was a symbol of the memory of the war dead. In the meantime it has been replaced by the common red poppy ("Poppy") in the Commonwealth . Armenians use the forget-me-not in memory of the victims of the Armenian genocide .

supporting documents

  • Siegmund Seybold (Ed.): Schmeil-Fitschen interactive . CD-ROM, version 1.1. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2002, ISBN 3-494-01327-6 .
  • Gelin Zhu, Harald Riedl, Rudolf V. Kamelin: Myosotis. In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (Ed.): Flora of China . Volume 16: Gentianaceae through Boraginaceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 1995, ISBN 0-915279-33-9 , pp. 360-361 (English). , online (sections description and systematics).

Individual evidence

  1. the name transfer by the English King Henry IV. 1398 is documented, according to Jack Sanders: The Secrets of Wildflowers: A Delightful Feast of Little-Known Facts, Folklore, and History. Globe Pequot, 2003, ISBN 1-58574-668-1 .
  2. Liu Huijun, Taoliang Hua: 中华 散文 百年 精华 . 人民 文学 出版社, Beijing 1999, ISBN 7-02-002883-7 , p. 384.
  3. a b c d e f Gelin Zhu, Harald Riedl, Rudolf V. Kamelin: Myosotis. In: Wu Zheng-yi, Peter H. Raven (Ed.): Flora of China . Volume 16: Gentianaceae through Boraginaceae . Science Press / Missouri Botanical Garden Press, Beijing / St. Louis 1995, ISBN 0-915279-33-9 , pp. 360-361 (English). , online.
  4. ^ Karl Reiche: Flora de Chile. Tomo quinto: Familias 59 [Stylidiaceae] (conclusión) - 83 [Nolanaceae]. Cervantes, Santiago de Chile, 1910, p. 239 PDF file: Myosotis .
  5. ^ A b Friedhelm Sauerhoff: Plant names in comparison: Studies on naming theory and etymology (= Journal for Dialectology and Linguistics, Supplements. Volume 113). Franz Steiner, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-515-07857-6 , pp. 205-207.
  6. Carl von Linné: Species Plantarum. Volume 1, Lars Salvius, Stockholm 1753, p. 131, digitizedhttp: //vorlage_digitalisat.test/ IA% 3D ~ MDZ% 3D% 0A ~ SZ% 3D ~ double-sided% 3D ~ LT% 3D ~ PUR% 3D .
  7. AS Hitchcock, ML Green: Standard species of Linnaeus genera of Phanerogamae (1753-1754). In: International Botanical Congress. Cambridge (England), 1930 (Ed.): Nomenclature. Proposals by British Botanists. London, 1929, p. 127 (PDF file) .
  8. ^ Manfred A. Fischer, Wolfgang Adler, Karl Oswald: Excursion flora for Austria, Liechtenstein and South Tyrol . 2nd, improved and enlarged edition. State of Upper Austria, Biology Center of the Upper Austrian State Museums, Linz 2005, ISBN 3-85474-140-5 .
  9. ^ Siegmund Seybold (Ed.): Schmeil-Fitschen interactive . CD-ROM, version 1.1. Quelle & Meyer, Wiebelsheim 2002, ISBN 3-494-01327-6 .
  10. ^ Christian Heitz: School and excursion flora for Switzerland. Taking into account the border areas. Identification book for wild growing vascular plants . Founded by August Binz. 18th completely revised and expanded edition. Schwabe & Co., Basel 1986, ISBN 3-7965-0832-4 .
  11. a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al Benito Valdés: Boraginaceae. Myosotis . In: Euro + Med Plantbase - the information resource for Euro-Mediterranean plant diversity. Berlin 2011.
  12. a b TG Tutin, VH Heywood, NA Burges, DM Moore, DH Valentine, SM Walters, DA Webb (eds.): Flora Europaea . Volume 3: Diapensiaceae to Myoporaceae . Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 1972, ISBN 0-521-08489-X , pp. 111 (English, limited preview in Google Book Search).
  13. Werner Greuter , Hervé-Maurice Burdet , Guy Long (eds.): Med-Checklist. A critical inventory of vascular plants of the circum-Mediterranean countries . Vol. 1: Pteridophyta (ed. 2), Gymnospermae, Dicotyledones (Acanthaceae - Cneoraceae) . Conservatoire et Jardin Botanique, Genève 1984, ISBN 2-8277-0151-0 . (on-line).
  14. Boraginaceae in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), USDA , ARS , National Genetic Resources Program. National Germplasm Resources Laboratory, Beltsville, Maryland. Retrieved February 21, 2014.
  15. Martin Cheek, Ralf Becker: A New Species of Myosotis L. (Boraginaceae) from Cameroon, with a Key to the Tropical African Species of the Genus. In: Kew Bulletin. Vol. 59, No. 2, 2004, pp. 227-231, JSTOR 4115854 .
  16. Heinz-Dieter Krausch : Kaiserkron and Peonies red ... From the discovery and introduction of our garden flowers. Deutscher Taschenbuch Verlag, Munich 2007, ISBN 978-3-423-34412-8 , pp. 301f.
  17. ^ Marianne Beuchert: Symbolism of the plants. Insel, Frankfurt / Leipzig 2004, ISBN 3-458-34694-5 , p. 323.
  18. Ernst-Günther Geppert: The forget-me-not badge and Freemasonry. Status: July 14, 2010, online (accessed July 14, 2010).
  19. ^ Volksbund Deutsche Kriegsgräberfürsorge eV: 100 Years of the First World War , accessed on September 27, 2017.
  20. Florence Avakian: Genocide Centennial in New York City . The Armenian Church, Eastern Diocese of America, accessed September 27, 2017.

Web links

Commons : Forget-Me-Not ( Myosotis )  - album with pictures, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Forget-me-nots  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations