The genus of forget-me-nots (Myosotis) comprises a great number of different species. The name comes from the Greek words for mouse (mus) and ear (otis) and refers to the shape of the leaf. The flower gets its common name from a medieval story. A knight, strolling along the river with his beloved, fell into the water when he stopped to pick flowers. He drowned because of the weight of his armour, but not before throwing the bunch of flowers to his beloved and crying out: “Forget me not”.
The following species are to be found in the Netherlands: the field forget-me-not (Myosotis arvensis), changing forget-me-not (Myosotis discolor), tufted forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa subsp. cespitosa), early forget-me-not (Myosotis ramosissima), the true forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides subsp. scorpioides), water forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides subsp. nemorosa), strict forget-me-not (Myosotis stricta) and the woodland forget-me-not (Myosotis sylvatica). They are all very similar in having small blue flowers with yellow centres.
Their use from prehistory until now
The plant flowers from March to September. The flowers are edible but have very little taste. They have been used in medicine since the Middle Ages and are supposed to be effective against tuberculosis. The flower is viewed as being romantic and tragic and is a symbol of fidelity, true and eternal love.
Text Nadine Lemmers
Translation Alun Harvey