Genus of the Week
Week of Feb. 23 - Mar. 1
This page has been created for people who want to learn more about plants, especially in the context of their taxonomy (Latin names, etc.). This is by no means an exhaustive list of all available Web resources on a particular genus.
This week's genus:
Family: Boraginaceae; The Forget-Me-Nots
Number of Species:approximately 50
Root: Latin origin from the Greek "muosotis", with "mus" meaning muscle and "ous" meaning ear. Another possibility is that "mus" refers to mouse, resulting in "mouse ears", a reference to the pubescent leaves.
Plants of the genus Myosotis are the true Forget-me-nots of the family. They are of economic importance due to their ornamental value (most have attractive bluish flowers). Of the dozen or so species present in North America, several are native to Europe, but they have naturalized after being introduced. The common name reputedly refers to a quote by a soon to be King Henry IV concerning the fact that wearing the flowers would cause one never to be forgotten. (Please see The L.A. Times web feature 52 Weeks in the Garden: Week 16 for a full reference.)
Here are a few links to images and descriptions of different Myosotis species:
- Here is an image of M. scorpioides (Water Forget-me-not) as seen in Hiroshima, Japan.
- And here is an image of M. alpestris (Alpine Forget-me-not) from the University of Lethbridge in Alberta, Canada.
- Michigan State University Extension has an even larger image of M. alpestris along with information about planting it in your rock garden.
- Harvard has a detailed identification key for this genus, text only.
- Several species of Myosotis are known to be food sources for certain Finnish butterfly species. Markku Savela provides the details.
- Discover the herbal powers of M. symphytifolia at Botanical.com
- For those of you interested in horticulture, here is a link to a site that gives details on how to grow and maintain Forget-me-nots, including information on pathogenic threats.
- Bambi munching on your garden? Consult this list of Deer-Resistant Perennials; Myosotis is of course included.
- Heywood, V.H., ed. Flowering Plants of the World. New York, Oxford University Press: 1993.
- Neiring, William A. and Nancy C. Olmstead., eds. The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Wildflowers, Eastern Region. Alfred A. Knopf, New York: 1979.
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