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Genus of flowering plants in the borage family Boraginaceae
More than 500 species names have been recorded, but only 74 species are presently accepted. The remainder are either synonyms of presently accepted or proposed names.
The genus is largely restricted to western Eurasia with circa 60 confirmed species and New Zealand with circa 40 confirmed species. A paucity of species occur elsewhere including North America, South America, and Papua New Guinea. Despite this, Myosotis species are now common throughout temperate latitudes because of the introduction of cultivars and alien species. Many happen to be popular in horticulture. They prefer moist habitats--in locales where they are not native, they frequently escape to wetlands and riverbanks. Only those native to the Northern hemisphere are colloquially denominated "forget-me-nots".
Myosotis species have pentamerousactinomorphic flowers with 5 sepals and petals. Flowers are typically 1 cm in diameter or less; flatly faced; colored blue, pink, white, or yellow with yellow centers; and born on scorpioid cymes. They typically flower in spring or soon after the melting of snow in alpine ecosystems. They are annual or perennial. The foliage is alternate, and their roots are generally diffuse.
The seeds are contained in small, tulip-shaped pods along the stem to the flower. The pods attach to clothing when brushed against and eventually fall off, leaving the small seed within the pod to germinate elsewhere. Seeds can be collected by placing a sheet of paper under stems and shaking the seed pods onto the paper.
Myosotis scorpioides is also colloquially denominated scorpion grass because of the spiraling curvature of its inflorescence.
The genus was originally described by Carl Linnaeus. The type species is Myosotis scorpioides. Myosotis species are distributed in temperate areas of the northern hemisphere and southernhemisphere. The genus has two centres of species diversity in Europe and New Zealand. Genetic analysis indicates that the genus originated in the northern hemisphere, and that species native to New Zealand, Australia, New Guinea and South America form a lineage of closely related species that are likely derived from a single dispersal event to the southern hemisphere.
There are 89 species, subspecies, and varieties of Myosotis in World Flora Online, of which 42 species are endemic to New Zealand. The full list of species includes:
After World War II, the forget-me-not flower was used again as a Masonic emblem in 1948 at the first Annual Convention of the United Grand Lodges of Germany. The badge is now worn in the coat lapel by Freemasons around the world to remember all who suffered in the name of Freemasonry, especially those during the Nazi era.
The flower is also used as a symbol of remembrance by the people of Newfoundland and Labrador. It is used to commemorate those from the province who were killed in the First World War, and worn around July 1.
It is also used in Germany to commemorate the fallen soldiers of the world wars in a similar manner to the use of remembrance poppies in the UK.
The flower is also the symbol for the Armenian Genocide's 100th anniversary.
^Meudt, Heidi M.; Prebble, Jessica M.; Lehnebach, Carlos A. (2014-11-07). "Native New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) comprise a Pleistocene species radiation with very low genetic divergence". Plant Systematics and Evolution. 301 (5): 1455-1471. doi:10.1007/s00606-014-1166-x. ISSN0378-2697. S2CID14686750.