by Clare Coleman

Three species of Forget-me-not flourish in wet places: Myosotis secunda, M. scorpioides and M. laxa (Creeping, Water and Tufted.) They are easily confused and many Flora, including the Atlas 2000, carry a rider to this effect. To complicate things further, the last two hybridise as M x suzae which is partially fertile giving rise to hybrid complexes.

Here are the principal points to look for:

M. secunda has very stiff, almost hispid, patent hairs in the lower part of the stem and styles shorter than calyx tube

M. laxa has appressed hairs on the lower stem and styles shorter than calyx tube

M. scorpioides has styles longer than the calyx tube and often longer than the entire calyx

M. x suzae has very long racemes (to 30+ cms) with small calyces which become brown and shrivelled

Still not sure? The table below might help:

Character M. secunda M.scorpiodes M.laxa M. x suzae Related character
Spreading hairs on lower stem Spreading Spreading Adpressed ? Appressed hairs on lower stem
Style longer than calyx tube Shorter Longer Shorter Equal Style shorter than calyx tube
Raceme Green to c 20 cm Green to c 20 cm Green to c 15 cm Brown & shrivelled to 30+ cm  
Corolla diameter in mm 6-8 8-11 4-5 5-8  
Stolons present Yes Yes No Yes  
Calyx teeth 0.3 x length of calyx 0.5 0.3 0.5 ? Calyx teeth 0.5 x length of calyx
Calyx teeth lanceolate, narrow based Lanceolate Broad Broad Broad Calyx teeth broad based triangular
Fruit pedicels short up to 2 x length of calyx Short Long Long Long Fruit pedicels long 2.5 - 5 x length of calyx
Pollen well formed Well formed Well formed Well formed Irregular Pollen irregular in size and shape
Seeds usually 2 - 4 2 - 4 2 - 4 2 - 4 0-1 Seeds 0 -1