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Forget-Me-Nots to Never Forget

AKA: Myosotis sylvatica L. Family: Boraginaceae; scorpion weed, love-me, marsh scorpion grass, mouse-ear scorpion grass, water forget-me-not and snake grass.

Propagation/Description: Native to Aisa and Europe it has become common all over the world. It is a hairy, tufted, spring-flowering plant that typically grows to 5-12” tall. Small, 5-lobed, blue flowers (3/8” diameter) with yellow or white eyes bloom in dense cymes in spring (April-May), with some sporadic and intermittent additional bloom to mid-summer. Oblong-linear to oblong-lanceolate, hairy, green leaves (to 1-3” long). Easily grown in organically rich, consistently moist, well-drained soils in full sun to part shade. Plants appreciate part afternoon shade in hot summer climates and will persist in the garden for many years by freely and sometimes aggressively self-seeding. They can also be propagated by dividing the rhizomes in the early spring.

Folklore/History: Genus name comes from the classical Greek name myosotis from mus meaning mouse and ous or otos meaning ear applied to plants with short pointed leaves, later transferred to this genus. One story comes from a German legend about a knight who died trying to get the flowers for his lover and called out with his last breath, “Forget me not!”. Another superstition is that the flowers of forget-me-nots almost always have a story that relates to love. Mainly, if couples wore the forget-me-not as a garland, they would never be forgotten by their lovers. Christian lore, the story about forget-me-nots is that God was walking in the Garden of Eden. He saw a blue flower and asked it its name. The flower was a shy flower and whispered that he had forgotten his name. God renamed the flower as forget-me-not saying that He will not forget the flower. According to a popular French medieval legend, a French knight walked along a river with his lady. He bent down to fetch her a little blue flower, but his heavy armor made him lose his balance and he fell into the current. Before sinking forever, he threw the flower to his lady, shouting “don't forget me”! And that's how the forget-me-not flower got its name. Whatever the origins it is commonly come to represent never forgotten love and fidelity.

Medicinal: According to WebMD Forget-Me-Nots are frequently used to treat lung issues and nosebleeds. Historically was crushed and applied to small cuts to slow down bleeding in Europe. It is widely accepted that while some people are touting the consumption of the forget-me-not as a tea Myosotis sylvatica should not be taken internally. It has been found to contain pyrrolizidine alkaloids which are notorious for causing acute hepatotoxicity, genotoxicity and neurological damage to humans and animals. It would take consumption of a large amount to have these effects, but caution is called for just the same. Otherwise, it has been known to assist as an anti-inflammatory, treat Asthma, and Eczema, used as an Expectorant, and to treat Kidney problems, Liver problems, tuberculosis, and Wounds. None of which have enough studies done to prove any great or lasting effects. So caution would be to use externally or minimally.

Spiritual: Spiritually it is used in workings or support of memory, support, healing, and peace. Developing soul relationships, strengthening spiritual connections, true love, clarity of perspective and success.

Summary: This particular flower has a huge meaning in my life. My mother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s several years back and I have been her caregiver ever since. Myosotis sylvatica or the Forget-Me-Not is the flower that represents the disease and other dementia related conditions similar to it. A reminder to never forget the ones we love. For me it has become a symbol that I will remember for her since she can no longer hold on to those precious memories of those she loves. I even have a tattoo with forget-me-nots to make sure that every time I see it throughout my day that I will remember all the people and things she loved about life. Her kids, her husband, her grandkids and great grandkids, her parents, and siblings, and all the wonderful friends she made throughout her life. I chose this plant for this post because I recently had to place her in a memory care facility and while she is no longer under my daily care, I know I will continue to never forget who she was and all the things in life that she accomplished. She was a wonderful farmer and teachers daughter, big sister to 4 outstanding humans, amazing ironworkers wife, mother to 3 amazingly strong intelligent women and a oh so smart and determined son and a very proud grandmother of 11 strong men and women who grew up to be brave soldiers, health professionals, financial guru’s, the next Einstein’s and the most loving and compassionate people to walk the earth and a great grandmother to the 4 most beautiful great grandchildren. She was a business owner, chef, chauffeur, bookkeeper, doctor, teacher and all the other things that a mother does for her children and grandchildren. The Forget-Me-Not represents remembering all the love and amazing qualities humanity can hold.


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