True Forget-Me-Not

While working on my Saturday “honey-do” list, I was trimming invasive vines (Oriental bittersweet and multiflora rose) along a section of stream that runs through our property, and took a break for some photography.  I had my camera on the trailer of the tractor in the hopes to capture on film a breeding pair of pileated woodpeckers that have been hammering stumpage for the last few days near my house, but they would elude me for today.  None-the-less here’s what was in flower along the stream corridor.

First up was the oh-so beautiful Blue Flag Iris (Iris versicolor), the striking native that is obligated (OBL) to occurring in wetlands.

The perfect habitat for blue flag is sunny wetlands and pond shorelines.

Yellow Iris (Iris pseudacorus) is not native to the United States, but occupies the exact same habitat as the blue iris.  I’ve always liked iris, both upland and wetland varieties as they tend to peak here in Maryland during the third week in May.

Two of my four sons have birthdays in the third week of May, and I have selected garden plant species by phenology, to be at peak flower at this time on my property, so that if we should be entertaining, and in celebration of Joshua and Michael, we would have lots of flowering forbs to enjoy.

The native shrub Arrowwood (Viburnum dentatum) was in flower along the stream banks, but most having already flowered.  This umbel was a little later than the rest.

A confused Brood X cicada that had just broken from its shell, was drying and stiffening its wings within a stream-side meadow.  He’s not supposed to be around for another 4-years, in 2021!

And now for the plant of the day . . . the True Forget-Me-Not (Myosotis scorpioides), which I’ve only ever seen before at one other location in the floodplain of Northwest Branch in Montgomery County, Maryland.  Those particular plants had a stronger, more intense blue color.

In the nearly 23-years that I’ve lived in Clarksville (Howard County), I’ve never seen this plant species within any stream valley, until today.

True Forget-me-not (OBL) can only be found in wetlands, as they must have wet feet to survive.  They are an introduced species that naturally occur in Great Britain and western Europe.

The plant is a stream edge perennial, and will perform well if water flow is not significant and the plant gets plenty of sun.  About half of this aggregate was actually within the water, and the remaining half was growing in the stream bank substrate.

There is a Christian religious legend according to which the child Jesus Christ created forget-me-not’s so that the generations to come would be able to see him and his mother Mary, on whose lap he was sitting.

The species name, scorpioides, means ‘scorpion like’, referring to the coiled shape of the inflorescence in the bud stage.  The Maryland Biodiversity website has documented true forget-me-not in five counties including Harford, Baltimore, Carroll, Montgomery and here in Howard.  Six other species of forget-me-not occur in Maryland, but none nearly as attractive as the true forget-me-not, also commonly called marsh or water forget-me-not, emphasizing that they are an obligate wetland species.