Myosotis scorpioides L.

Common Name: Forget-me-not

Synonyms and Other Names:

Myosotis palustris, Water Forget-me-not, Yelloweye forget-me-not, Scorpion Weed, Love-me, Marsh Scorpion Grass, Mouse-Ear Scorpion Grass, Snake Grass

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Identification: This species is an erect, perennial, 4"-24" tall forb, with hairy stems. It is often creeping and has fibrous roots. Forget-me-not has blue five-petaled flowers with a yellow center, 1/4"-3/8" wide, with petals flat at the top of the tube, calyx with flat, tight hairs, and lobes much shorter than the tube. Inflorescence is a terminal, curving, branched cluster (cyme) that produces smooth, shiny nutlets on spreading stalks. Leaves are alternate, stalkless, hairy, and evergreen in ponds. This species blooms from May to September.

Size: 6 to 12 inches tall (15-30 cm), 9 to 12 inches spread (22-30 cm)

Native Range: Europe and Asia (native to moist meadows and stream banks from Europe to Siberia).

Great Lakes Nonindigenous Occurrences: This wildflower has now escaped cultivation and has naturalized in wet places throughout many parts of North America. Introduced in much of the eastern United States; uncommon in the Pacific Northwest. It is widespread in all Great Lakes states, including Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin. 

It invaded the Great Lakes Basin in 1886. Forget-me-nots are found in all the Great Lakes States, and are very common around Lake Superior.

Table 1. Great Lakes region nonindigenous occurrences, the earliest and latest observations in each state/province, and the tally and names of HUCs with observations†. Names and dates are hyperlinked to their relevant specimen records. The list of references for all nonindigenous occurrences of Myosotis scorpioides are found here.

Full list of USGS occurrences

State/ProvinceFirst ObservedLast ObservedTotal HUCs with observations†HUCs with observations†
IN200820082Little Calumet-Galien; St. Joseph
MI1903201834Au Sable; Bad-Montreal; Betsie-Platte; Black-Presque Isle; Boardman-Charlevoix; Brule; Clinton; Dead-Kelsey; Great Lakes Region; Huron; Keweenaw Peninsula; Lake Huron; Manistee; Manistique River; Michigamme; Northeastern Lake Michigan; Northwestern Lake Huron; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Ontonagon; Pere Marquette-White; Pigeon-Wiscoggin; Pine; Southcentral Lake Superior; Southeastern Lake Michigan; Southwestern Lake Huron; St. Clair; St. Clair-Detroit; St. Joseph; St. Marys; Sturgeon; Thunder Bay; Upper Grand; Waiska; Western Lake Erie
MN200820112Northwestern Lake Superior; St. Louis
NY1886201413Cattaraugus; Eastern Lake Erie; Indian; Lake Ontario; Lower Genesee; Northeastern Lake Ontario; Oak Orchard-Twelvemile; Oneida; Oswego; Oswego; Seneca; St. Lawrence; Upper Genesee
OH200820188Ashtabula-Chagrin; Black-Rocky; Cuyahoga; Huron-Vermilion; Lake Erie; Lower Maumee; Southern Lake Erie; Western Lake Erie
PA200820202Chautauqua-Conneaut; Lake Erie
WI1972201822Bad-Montreal; Beartrap-Nemadji; Black-Presque Isle; Brule; Door-Kewaunee; Fox; Lake Michigan; Lake Superior; Manitowoc-Sheboygan; Menominee; Milwaukee; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Northwestern Lake Michigan; Oconto; Ontonagon; Peshtigo; Pike-Root; Southwestern Lake Michigan; Southwestern Lake Superior; St. Louis; Upper Fox; Wolf

Table last updated 12/10/2023

† Populations may not be currently present.

Ecology: Prefered habitat for this species includes wet areas, such as shores, shallows, streambanks, and springs. It may form rafts in slow-moving streams can can remain submerged in up to 3 inches of water. It blooms from May to October in temperate climates.

Means of Introduction: Intentionally introduced for ornamental cultivation, garden escapes.

Status: Introduced and naturalized. Despite some reports of this species being ecologically invasive, it is widespread and generally of low concern.

Great Lakes Impacts:
Summary of species impacts derived from literature review. Click on an icon to find out more...


Current research on the environmental impact of Myosotis scorpioides in the Great Lakes is inadequate to support proper assessment.
Myosotis scorpioides competes with native plants in wet areas (Ling 2010) and can form large monocultures (Mehrhoff et al. 2003); therefore, it has the potential to significantly reduce populations of native plant species, and it may change the density of vegetation. 

This species contains pyrrolizidine alkaloids that are toxic to mammals and can cause weight loss, poor body condition, and liver disease (DiTomaso and Healy 2007).  

Myosotis has been documented to hybridize with other members of the genus, but it is not known whether or not it will hybridize with the natives Myosotis laxa (listed as endangered in Indiana), Myosotis macrosperma, or Myosotis verna.

There is little or no evidence to support that Myosotis scorpioides has significant socioeconomic impacts in the Great Lakes.

There is little or no evidence to support that Myosotis scorpioides has significant beneficial impacts in the Great Lakes.
Myosotis scorpiodes is cultivated as an ornamental plant. Its nectar and pollen attract pollinating insects, making it a popular choice for butterfly gardens (Plants for a Future 2010).

Management: Regulations (pertaining to the Great Lakes region)
There are no known regulations for this species. Wisconsin has a proposal to list this species as restricted.

Note: Check federal, state/provincial, and local regulations for the most up-to-date information.

Control options have not been very well documented.  This species is likely very difficult to control due to abundant seed production and spread via stolons.

There are no known biological control methods for this species. 

This plant cannot survive exposure to temperatures below -33 F (USDA Plants Database, 2013).

Note: Check state/provincial and local regulations for the most up-to-date information regarding permits for control methods. Follow all label instructions.

Remarks: Similar species: M. laxa has smaller flowers (2-6 mm) and lobes of its calyx are about 1/2 its total length

References (click for full reference list)

Author: Cao, L., and R. Sturtevant

Contributing Agencies:

Revision Date: 8/15/2019

Citation for this information:
Cao, L., and R. Sturtevant, 2023, Myosotis scorpioides L.: U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database, Gainesville, FL, and NOAA Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System, Ann Arbor, MI,, Revision Date: 8/15/2019, Access Date: 12/10/2023

This information is preliminary or provisional and is subject to revision. It is being provided to meet the need for timely best science. The information has not received final approval by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) and is provided on the condition that neither the USGS nor the U.S. Government shall be held liable for any damages resulting from the authorized or unauthorized use of the information.