Forget-me-not

Well, what I originally wanted with this blog/page, is to tell you about plants. Because I love them. I studied them. I worked with them. And I currently work with them. Sort of.

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Myosotis sylvatica by Atli Arnarson

So let’s start with these lovely bubbles, Forget-me-nots. Yes, plural. There is more, than just one forget me not. In an earlier article, I told you about the double Latin names we use to distinguish species. But sometimes, many times, in common language, a name of a flower is used for … well a whole bunch of flower which looks similar, but not necessarily one species. It can be multiple species, most of them time, that is the case. There is nothing wrong with this, we cannot and we don’t expect a non-botanist to be able to distinguish between species, especially when occasionally the only way to distinguish is through genetic tests.

Forget-me-not are the plants which belongs to the Myosotis genus. If we look at how many species belongs to this genus, PlantList gives us the number 503. These however are not individual species, many of the names on PlantList are synonims. At the moment, there is 74 species belongs to the Myosotis genus, aka, we have 74 different plant species, you can call forget-me-not. The genus belongs to the Boraginaceae, or Borago family, which means that forget-me-nots are closely related to borago, comfrey, lungwort and many more.

Also, forget-me-not is not their only names. Let’s put aside, that it has a different name is every language, but it also has other names in English too, for example “scorpion grasses” or “mouse ear”. The common name “forget-me-not” was calqued from the German Vergissmeinnicht, and first used in English in 1398 AD via King Henry IV.

Forget-me-not also comes in three colours – blue, pink and white. Due to some genetic amazingness, flowers with that colour combination cannot produce yellow, orange or red flowers.

Copyright Floramedia Database BVPesetaweg 35
2153 PJ Nieuw Vennep
Source

These flowers mostly occur in western Eurasia and New Zealand. You can find very few in America, Africa, Australia and Papua New Guinea.

I won’t go into details about the plant description, you can find these information with a five seconds google search. What I like to look into more is the part it played in history.

One of my favourite thing about flowers is the Language of Flowers, aka floriography.
People used flowers to send secret messages for hundred and thousands of years. It can be a message about a conspiracy, or lovers sending secret messages to each other. Just think about how easier it is, not finding the words how to express your feelings, so you just send a bouquet of forget-me-nots. Yes, the meaning of forget-me-not in flower language is “true love; memories”.

It is not surprising that floriography flourished in the Victorian ear, where literally everything was forbidden or considered not appropriate.

Historically forget-me-not was used to treat nosebleeds and lung problems. It is not proven or even research if it works or not, but let’s not rely on that, just go to the doctor if you have problems. 🙂

Sources:

And if you click here, you can add your own observation if you see a forget-me-not. 🙂

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