Alpine forget-me-not – Myosotis asiatica

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Alaska Wildflowers | Purple

Alpine forget-me-not – Myosotis asiatica

Alpine forget-me-not

Myosotis asiatica

*Alaska State Flower

Common Names

alpine forget-me-not
asian forget-me-not
mountain forget-me-not

Synonyms

Myosotis alpestris
Myosotis alpestris var. alpestris
Myosotis alpestris ssp. asiatica
Myosotis sylvatica var. alpestris

Subspecies

none

Genus: Myosotis
Family: Boraginaceae
Order: Boraginales
Full Classification

Duration – Growth Habit

Perennial – Forb/herb

Identification and Information

The alpine forget-me-not (Myosotis asiatica, previously known as Myosotis alpestris) is a small, blue or purple flowering perennial herb that grows in alpine environments. The entire plant is 3-38 cm (1-18 inches) tall, but typically not taller than 30 cm (12 inches). It grows from diffuse, fibrous roots, and a branching stem base or a spreading, short rhizome.

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Basal leaves are hairy, oblanceolate (lance-shaped – pointed at the base) or elliptic, single, petiolate, and simple. The leaves are only about 5-13 cm (2-5 inches) in length. Stem leaves are sessile, oblong or elliptic in shape, about 6 cm (2.4 inches) in length, and reduced in size upward on the slender, erect stems. Alpine forget-me-not can be single or multi-stemmed.

The inflorescence is a terminal cluster of small blue flowers up to 6 mm (1/4 inch) in diameter. Each flower has 5 petals, fused into a tube at the base with a bulging yellow center. The flower lacks bracts or sepals. The calyx tube has several stiff, hooked hairs (uncinate), which differentiate it from M. scorpioides which has straight hairs. The fruiting pods are hairy, tulip-shaped, and develop along the stem. The fruits are composed of 4 clustered egg-shaped nutlets. The hooked hairs help the fruiting pods help attach to animals to germinate elsewhere.

Distribution and Habitat

Alpine forget-me-not is widely distributed across the northern hemisphere. In North America, it is isolated to the northwest. M. asiatica may be invasive in some of the countries shown above, as with many other forget-me-not flowers, it is frequently cultivated for gardens and can spread readily.

M. asiatica grows in alpine environments, often in moist soil near streambanks or marshy tundra. It can also be found on poorly drained rocky slopes. Alpine forget-me-nots bloom June through July.

Uses

For information only (typically historical) – I take no responsibility for adverse effects from the use of any plant and do not recommend the use of any without consulting a doctor.

While I found no documentation for food/medicinal uses for the alpine forget-me-not species, Myosotis asiatica, the forget-me-not genus Myosotis has listed uses. Ornamental forget-me-nots like M. sylvatica are edible and can be used in salads. However, many forget-me-nots contain pyrrolizidine, a mild toxin that would be harmful in significant quantities. It would probably be good to shy away from using forget-me-nots in the wild as a food. The Iroquois used a decoction of Myosotis with feed to aid birthing cows. Myosotis has also been used as an astringent for wounds and nosebleeds.

Classification

RangScientific Name (Common Name)
KingdomPlantae  (plantes, Planta, Vegetal, plants)
   SubkingdomViridiplantae  (green plants)
      InfrakingdomStreptophyta  (land plants)
         SuperdivisionEmbryophyta 
            DivisionTracheophyta  (vascular plants, tracheophytes)
               SubdivisionSpermatophytina  (spermatophytes, seed plants, phanérogames)
                  ClassMagnoliopsida 
                     SuperorderAsteranae 
                        OrderBoraginales 
                           FamilyBoraginaceae  (borage, bourraches)
                              GenusMyosotis L. (forget-me-not)
                                 SpeciesMyosotis asiatica (alpine forget-me-not, Asian forget-me-not)

References and Further Reading

Guidebook

Field Guide to Alaskan Wildflowers, Pratt, Verna E. pg 9

Classification and Taxonomy

Myosotis asiatica (Vestergr.) Schischk. & Serg., Taxonomic Serial No.: 503894, ITIS Database

Myosotis asiatica (Vesterg.) Schischkin & Sergievskaja, Asian forget-me-not, USDA Database

Uses

Myosotis sp., Common names: Forget Me Not, Native American Ethnobotany Database

Biologically Active Pyrrolizidine Alkaloids From the True Forget-Me-Not, Myosotis scorpioides
James F. Resch, Daniel F. Rosberger, Jerrold Meinwald, and Jeanne W. Appling
Journal of Natural Products 1982 45 (3), 358-362
DOI: 10.1021/np50021a020

Map and Distribution

Myosotis asiatica (Vestergr.) Schischk. & Serg., GBIF

Description and Information

Myosotis asiatica (Vesterg.) Schischkin & Sergievskaja, E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Plant of the Week: Alpine Forget-Me-Not, USDA/U.S. Forest Service

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