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Wood Forget-me-not

Myosotis sylvatica

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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Boraginaceae (Borage)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
50 centimetres tall
Gardens, meadows, riverbanks, riversides, roadsides, wasteland, waterside, woodland.

Blue, 5 petals
Clustered, sky blue flowers with yellow and white centres, sometimes remaining pink, 5 petals.
Pale to dark brown egg-shaped capsule, glossy and up to 2mm long.
The basal leaves are stalked and the stem leaves are unstalked. The stalks are winged. Toothless margins and hairy.
Other Names:
Blue Forget-me-not, Common Forget-me-not, Field Forget-me-not, Garden Forget-me-not, Woodland Forget-me-not.
Frequency (UK):

Similar Species

Other Information


Myosotis sylvatica, commonly known as woodland forget-me-not or blue forget-me-not, is a species of flowering plant in the borage family (Boraginaceae). It is native to Europe and Asia and typically found in woodlands, meadows, and along the banks of streams and rivers.

It's a perennial herb that typically grows to be 20-50 cm tall. The leaves are hairy and arranged alternately on the stem. The small flowers are typically a bright blue color, but can also be white or pink, and have yellow centers. They bloom from spring to early summer.

This species is popular in cultivation as a garden plant, often grown as a border plant or ground cover. It can be propagated by seed or by dividing the root clumps. It's a hardy and tolerant species, it prefers moist, well-drained soil and cool temperatures, it also tolerates full sun in cooler climates.

Like other species of Myosotis, it has medicinal properties, the leaves and flowers have been used traditionally to make remedies for skin diseases, wounds, and as an anti-inflammatory agent.

This species is not considered to be invasive and it's quite easy to grow in gardens. It's a great addition to gardens as it can be used to add color and form to borders and groundcovers, and it's also well suited to naturalizing in native plant gardens.


Wood Forget-me-not, or Myosotis sylvatica, is a small, delicate flowering plant native to Europe, Asia, and North Africa. It is a member of the Boraginaceae family and is closely related to other forget-me-nots, such as Myosotis arvensis and Myosotis scorpioides.

The Wood Forget-me-not is a biennial or perennial plant that grows to a height of about 30 cm. It has soft, hairy leaves and small, delicate blue flowers that bloom from April to June. The flowers are typically five-petalled and have a yellow center. Occasionally, the flowers may also be pink or white.

The Wood Forget-me-not is a popular garden plant due to its attractive flowers and low maintenance requirements. It prefers well-drained soil and partial shade, although it can also tolerate full sun in cooler climates. It is often used as a ground cover or as an edging plant in garden borders.

In addition to its ornamental value, the Wood Forget-me-not also has several medicinal uses. It has been used traditionally to treat respiratory problems, such as coughs and bronchitis, as well as urinary tract infections and skin conditions. The plant contains several compounds, including tannins and mucilage, that may have anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties.

The Wood Forget-me-not also has cultural significance in many parts of the world. In Germany, it is known as "Vergissmeinnicht" and is associated with remembrance and commemorating the dead. During World War I, it became a symbol of remembrance for soldiers who had died in battle, and it continues to be used in this way today.

Despite its popularity and cultural significance, the Wood Forget-me-not is considered an invasive species in some areas, particularly in North America. It can quickly spread and outcompete native plants, disrupting local ecosystems. As such, it is important to be mindful of the plant's potential impact before introducing it to a new environment.

Wood Forget-me-nots are relatively easy to grow and care for, making them a great choice for beginner gardeners or those who want a low-maintenance plant. They can be propagated from seed or by dividing existing plants in the spring or autumn.

When planting Wood Forget-me-nots, it is important to choose a location with well-draining soil that receives partial shade. The plant prefers moist soil, but overwatering should be avoided to prevent root rot. Once established, the plant will require minimal watering, especially if grown in a shaded area.

In terms of pest and disease management, Wood Forget-me-nots are generally quite hardy and resistant to most common plant ailments. However, they may be susceptible to powdery mildew and rust in humid conditions. These can be treated with fungicides or by improving air circulation around the plant.

Wood Forget-me-nots are often used in traditional herbal medicine as a treatment for a variety of ailments. The plant is believed to have anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and diuretic properties, and has been used to treat conditions such as coughs, bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and skin irritations. However, as with any herbal remedy, it is important to consult a healthcare professional before using Wood Forget-me-nots for medicinal purposes.

In addition to its uses in herbal medicine, Wood Forget-me-nots are also used in the production of natural dyes. The plant contains anthocyanins, a type of pigment that produces blue and purple hues when extracted. Historically, Wood Forget-me-nots were used to dye fabrics, yarns, and even Easter eggs.

Furthermore, the Wood Forget-me-not is an important plant for pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, as it provides a source of nectar and pollen. This makes it a great choice for gardeners who want to support local pollinator populations.

The Wood Forget-me-not has also inspired many works of art and literature throughout history. In addition to its association with remembrance and commemoration, it has been used as a symbol of love and fidelity. The poet Robert Burns famously wrote a poem titled "A Red, Red Rose" in which he compared his love to a Wood Forget-me-not.

Wood Forget-me-nots have also been used in traditional folklore and superstitions. For example, in some parts of Europe, it was believed that carrying a sprig of Wood Forget-me-nots would protect against witches and evil spirits. In other traditions, it was said that wearing a garland of Wood Forget-me-nots would bring luck in love and fortune.

Furthermore, the Wood Forget-me-not has been the subject of scientific research due to its potential therapeutic benefits. Studies have shown that the plant contains compounds with antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, which may make it useful in the treatment of certain conditions, such as skin disorders and respiratory infections. However, more research is needed to fully understand the plant's medicinal potential.

Finally, the Wood Forget-me-not is not the only member of the Myosotis genus. There are over 50 different species of forget-me-nots, each with its own unique characteristics and uses. For example, Myosotis scorpioides, also known as the Water Forget-me-not, is a water-loving species that is often grown in ponds and water features. Myosotis arvensis, or Field Forget-me-not, is a wildflower commonly found in meadows and hedgerows.

In conclusion, the Wood Forget-me-not is a fascinating and beloved plant with a rich cultural history and many potential uses. Whether you are a gardener, an herbalist, an artist, or simply a lover of nature, the Wood Forget-me-not is a plant that is sure to capture your imagination and inspire your creativity.


Wood Forget-me-nots filmed in Blackrod, Lancashire on the 7th April 2023.


Music credits
Last Kiss Goodnight by Kevin MacLeod is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license.

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