Myosotis scorpioides (True Forget-me-not)

Plant Info
Also known as: Water Forget-me-not, Water Scorpion Grass
Family:Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life cycle:perennial
  • Invasive - ERADICATE!
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist to wet; shallow water, streams, seeps, lakeshores, wet ditches
Bloom season:May - September
Plant height:6 to 20 inches
Wetland Indicator Status:GP: OBL MW: OBL NCNE: OBL
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: raceme

[photo of flowers]  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 ¼ to 1/3 inch across, bright to pale blue, tubular with 5 spreading, round to egg shaped lobes. The base of the lobes has a scale-like swollen appendage that forms a bright to deep yellow collar around the throat. Flower stalks are about ¼ inch long, elongating in fruit.

[photo of calyx with appressed hairs and short lobes] The calyx surrounding the base of the flower is shorter than the stalk and has five triangular lobes that are shorter than the calyx tube. The floral tube is longer than the calyx, causing the flower to be flat or even convex across the top. The central stem, flower stalks and the calyx are sparsely to moderately covered in straight, appressed hairs.

Leaves and stems: Leaf attachment: alternate Leaf type: simple

[photo of stem with spreading hairs and leaves with appressed hairs] Leaves are alternate, the lower leaves mostly broadest above the middle, rounded at the tip, narrowed at the base to a short stalk, 1 to 3 inches long and ¼ to ¾ inch wide, becoming smaller, stalkless or nearly so, and more lance-oblong as they ascend the stem. Surfaces are sparsely to moderately covered in short appressed hairs, edges are toothless and may have a sparse fringe of hairs especially near the base. 

[photo of stem with appressed hairs and leaf underside] Stems are round in cross-section or angled, multiple from the base, creeping to erect, often rooting at the nodes and creating dense colonies from spreading runners (stolons). Stems become widely branched in the upper plant, variously covered in appressed hairs, sometimes spreading hairs.

Fruit: Fruit type: seed without plume

Fruit is four parted, (a schizocarp) hidden inside the persistent calyx, splitting into four dark, shiny, egg shaped nutlets (mericarps) less than 1/10 inch long, the persistent style in the center is equal to or longer than the nutlets.


True Forget-me-not is by far the most common Forget-me-not species encountered in Minnesota and one of three non-native Myosotis species in the state. An aggressive invader of lake margins, shallow woodland pools and small streams, it can form dense mats, choking out most other species. The five Myosotis species in the state fall into two camps: those with appressed hairs on the calyx, and those with spreading hairs. M. scorpioides is in the appressed-hairy group along with the native Smaller Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa). Both share a similar wetland habitat but M. laxa is distinguished by its more spindly growth, lack of stolons, calyx lobes about as long as the tube, and flowers about half the size of M. scorpioides.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken in Anoka, Cook, Lake and Washington Counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Cass County.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Kristin - Minnehaha Falls Park, Minneapolis
on: 2016-08-13 09:01:06

In damp areas along the boardwalk beside Minnehaha Creek, near the Mississippi.

Posted by: Pat - White Bear Lake, near St. Paul
on: 2016-08-21 16:55:08

Can this plant be a biennial? The flowering plant has tall stems; nearby is a short plant with the same leaf but no flower stalk. I'm thinking these will bloom next year.

Posted by: Linda Schaetzel - Minneapolis
on: 2018-07-03 22:18:52

Is this the cute little plant that reseeds itself in my garden that I got from a neighbor. Is there a domestic garden variety or is it all bad. If the anwser is yes I will rip it out (sad) and tell my friend to get rid of hers. I n addition there has been a lot of Hawkweed growing in south Minneapolis this year, both yellow and orange. P.S. I made my neighbor pull out all the Tansy she planted on the blvd. She did not want to but I said I would report her for planting it! You do not need to post this as a comment, but I sure would like an answer.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2018-07-04 10:34:04

Linda, there are no native forget-me-nots in the garden trade that we're aware of. Kudos to you for trying to keep the invasive species out of your neighborhood.

Posted by: Michelle Wegler - Duluth
on: 2021-05-21 13:00:12

Patches of it along the Tischer Creek Trail between 4th ST and Superior St.

Posted by: Sherman - Duluth
on: 2021-12-02 13:35:54

The yard at my parents' house near Snively Road in Duluth, was on a corner lot which in the spring received runoff from up the street and also from up the avenue. Myosotis scorpioides was always present in the wettest areas of the yard. They're also present in a shadier, wetter area of the lawn at MY house, near Chester Creek in Duluth. I realized long ago, that there were 2 general types of "Forget-Me-Nots". The wet type, that has shinier leaves and loves water, and the hairier type, that likes dry locations.

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