Wood Forget-me-not - Myosotis sylvatica, click for a larger image
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Wood Forget-me-not - Myosotis sylvatica, click for a larger image

Wood Forget-me-not - Myosotis sylvatica
Family - Boraginaceae

A perennial (occasionally biennial) with a straggly branched stem structure growing to about 50cm (20in) from a basal cluster of large long stalked elliptical or lanceolate leaves.  The whole plant is softly hairy, stem leaves are sessile sessile lanceolate to ovate.  Five petaled flat mid-blue flowers 6-10mm (0.15-0.4in) in diameter in clusters with a white or orange centre, the stamens are concealed in a tubular structure in the centre of the flower.  The flowers mature to a brown 4-chambered nut.

An invasive of grassed areas, gardens, open damp woods, waste ground and roadsides, it spreads readily by seed, is usually in flower from April - July and is locally common.  Wood Forget-me-not is a member of the genus Myosotis with about 50 species, it is found over most of Europe and occasionally as a garden escapee, especially plants with Purple, White or Orange flowers.  Closely related and superficially similar to the Field Forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis) that has smaller flowers.  An introduced alien in the United States, Australasia and many temperate countries, it is the state flower of Alaska.

Many legends surround the name "Forget-me-not" from medieval knights to modern romances, regarded as a flower of romance and lovers fate, oft worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.  It was worn as an identifier by German Freemasons during the Second World War when such groups were rigidly persecuted.

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