Myosotis laxa (Smaller Forget-me-not)
|Also known as:||Tufted Forget-me-not|
|Life cycle:||annual, biennial, short-lived perennial|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil; stream banks, sedge meadows, floodplain forest, swamps|
|Bloom season:||May - September|
|Plant height:||4 to 16 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Raceme of stalked flowers at the tips of branching stems, the cluster initially tightly curled at the tip with flowers opening in succession as the tip unfurls and elongates. Flowers are 1/8 to ¼ inch across, bright to pale blue, tubular with 5 spreading, oval to egg-shaped lobes. The base of the lobes has a scale-like swollen appendage that forms a light to deep yellow collar around the throat. Flower stalks are about ¼ inch long.
The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is shorter than the stalk and has five narrow lance-triangular lobes that may be unequal in length and are more or less as long as the calyx tube. The stem, flower stalks and calyx are sparsely to densely covered with short, straight, appressed hairs.
Leaves and stems:
Leaves are alternate, the lower leaves mostly broadest above the middle, short-stalked, 1 to 2½ inches long and ¼ to 2/3 inch wide, becoming smaller, stalkless or nearly so, and more lance-oblong as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are sparsely to moderately covered in appressed hairs, edges are toothless and lack a fringe of hairs. Stems are round in cross-section or angled, multiple from the base, weak and often sprawling but not rooting at nodes, the flower stalks and upper branches ascending, and sparsely covered with appressed hairs.
Fruits are small, shiny black nutlets hidden inside the persisitent calyx, nutlets surpass the persistent style.
Spring Forget-me-not is one of two native Myosotis species in Minnesota. The five Myosotis species in the state fall into two camps: those with appressed hairs on the calyx, and those with spreading hairs. M. laxa is in the appressed-hairy group along with the non-native True Forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides). Both share a similar wetland habitat but M. scorpioides is distinguished by its more dense and robust growth and flowers about twice the size of M. laxa.
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Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Cass County.
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