University of Alberta Vascular Plant Herbarium (ALTA) - University of Alberta Museums University of Alberta Museums

Species Details

Scientific Name: Myosotis alpestris F. W. Schmidt

Common Name: alpine forget-me-not

General Description: Perennial herb, low, compact, 10–30 cm tall, fibrous roots

Leaves: Basal leaves spatula-shaped, margins entire, papery sheath at base; stem leaves alternate, linear, up to 6 cm long, gradually reduced upwards, margins entire

Flowers: Inflorescence a raceme, 1 sided, bractless; flowers radially symmetric; sepals 5, 1.5-2.5 mm long, 4-5 mm wide, white dense hairs; petals 5, 3.5 mm, circular, fused into tube that flattens abruptly, blue, yellow scale at base of each lobe; stamens 5, anthers elliptic; pistils 1, style thread-like, stigma capitate, ovary superior

Fruits and Seeds: Nutlets 4, egg-shaped, 2 mm long, 1 mm wide, black, smooth, shiny, 1- seeded

Phenology: Flowers from May to June

Notes: Similar species:
M. alpestris has flowers similar to that of species of the Vinca genus, but can be distinguished by petals that are rounded and flat, and arranged in a tight circle.

M. alpestris is the state flower of Alaska

The name “forget-me-not” came from Old French “ne m’oubliez pas.” The name came from a 15th century German legend. The legend told of a knight and his lady walking along the river side. The knight picked a posy of flowers but fell into the river. Due to the weight of his armour, the knight began to drown, and as he was drowning he threw the posy to his loved one and shouted to her “forget-me-not”. For this reason, it was supposed that the wearers of the flower would not be forgotten by their lovers. Women wore the flower as a sign of faithfulness and enduring love.

Range/Distribution: Alberta: Western Alberta in the mountainous areas

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