Small Forget-me-not

Myosotis laxa

Species distinguishing characteristics: 

  • Tiny, light blue flowers with a yellow center
  • Hairs on the calyx, or base of the petals, lay flat
  • Plant does not have creeping roots on stem
  • Grows in or near water, or in other moist areas

Family Characteristics: 

  • Predominantly blue flowers (sometimes pink, purple, yellow, or white) with 5 flaring lobes
  • Coiled flowering stalk, like a scorpion’s tail, with flowers blooming on the upper surface and lower flowers opening first
  • Foliage usually covered in rough hairs
  • Leaves alternate, simple, and entire
  • Fruit consists of 4 nutlets (occasionally fewer)

Growth habitat: 

Perennial, occasionally annual or biennial, up to 40 cm tall. 

Leaves and stems: 

Sparsely hairy foliage with hairs that lay flat against the stem.  Slender, weak stems are branched close to the base, if at all, and arise in a tuft.  Long, narrow, alternate leaves (2-4 cm long by 3-15 mm wide) have rounded or pointed tips, a prominent mid-vein and attach directly to the stem. 


Pastel blue (occasionally white) flowers with a yellow ring in the center.  Flowers are borne at the tip of the stem in a curving branched cluster that uncoils as the flowers bloom.  Flowers are 2-5 mm across and have 5 lobes that are rounded at the tip (not notched).  The base of the petals forms a tube, or calyx, less than or equal to the length of the petal lobes.  Hairs on the calyx lay flat and are not spreading or hooked.


Diffuse, fibrous roots.  Creeping roots do not form on the stem as in similar species.


Small (less than 2 mm across), shiny, brown to black "nutlets" in clusters of 4 per flower.

Habitat preferences: 

In mud, shallow water, or moist areas at low elevations, such as along streams, riparian areas, wetlands, and open areas.

Interesting facts: 

The genus name Myosotis, from the greek words “mus” (mouse) and “ous” (ear), refers to the soft, hairy leaves.  Myosotis species were used by various cultures as a love charm and a flower for memorializing the dead.  The larvae of some Lepidoptera moths and butterflies, including the spotted cutworm (Xestia c-nigrum), use small forget-me-nots as food plants.

Biological Classification: