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Forget Me Not

Forget Me Not photoThe Forget-me-nots are the genus Myosotis of flowering plants in the family Boraginaceae.

There are about 50 species in the genus, and among them there is inevitably considerable variation. Nevertheless a considerable number of the species fit the same description, of a small (1 cm diameter) rather flat 5-petalled blue flower growing profusely on straggly stems, flowering in spring. Colour variation is not unusual within species, and white or pink forms are quite likely to be seen. They are popular in gardens, and cultivated forms often show a mixture of colours.

Forget-me-nots can be annual or perennial plants. Their root systems are generally diffuse.

They are widely distributed. Most Myosotis species are endemic to New Zealand, though one or two European species, especially the Wood Forget-me-not, Myosotis sylvatica have been introduced in most of the temperate regions of Europe, Asia and America. Myosotis scorpioides is also known as scorpion grass.

The forget-me-not is the state flower of Alaska.

Why "Forget-me-not"?

The name was borrowed from Old French "ne m'oubliez pas" which was translated from German "Vergissmeinnicht". Loans and translations of it can be found in most European languages, like Dutch "vergeet-mij-nietje", Danish "forglem-mig-ej", Swedish "förgätmigej", Romanian "nu ma uita", Hungarian "nefelejcs", Czech "pomnenka", Russian "nezabudka",Slovak "nezábudka", Polish "niezapominajka", Italian "nontiscordardimé", Spanish "nomeolvides", etc.

In the 15th century Germany, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower will not be forgotten by their lovers. Freemasons claim that during the Second World War the freemasons of Germany used the flower to secretly identify themselves to each other, however this has been completely discredited.

Legend has it that in medieval times, a knight and his lady were walking along the side of a river. He picked a posy of flowers, but because of the weight of his armour he fell into the river. As he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted "Forget-me-not". This is a flower connected with romance and tragic fate. It was often worn by ladies as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.


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