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Kevin Doyle

Small Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa)

Life history

Species overview

Small Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa), a Wisconsin Special Concern plant, is found in cold, clear forested streams. Blooming occurs early July through early August; fruiting occurs late July through late September. The optimal identification period for this species is early July through early September.

Synonyms: None


  • Distinguishing characteristics: Distinguished from the non-native M. scorpoides by corolla limbs (free part of petal), which are 2 to 5 mm wide in M. laxa and 5 to 10 mm wide in M. scorpoides. These species can also be distinguished by their calyx lobes, which are about as long as the rest of the floral tube in M. laxa and much shorter than the rest of floral tube in M. scorpoides.
  • Flower characteristics: Inflorescence terminal, becoming open; mature pedicels spreading, equaling or mostly longer than the 3 to 5 mm calyx; flower pale blue with a yellow center, each limb (free part of petal) 2 to 5 mm wide; calyx closely covered with short, stiff, sharp hairs, with the lobes (teeth) about the same length as the tube; style distinctly surpassed by the nutlets.
  • Fruit characteristics: Nutlets distintcly surpassing the style.
  • Leaf characteristics: Lower leaves mostly oblanceolate, the others more oblong or elliptic to lance-elliptic.


  • Blooming phenology: early July through early August
  • Fruiting phenology: late July through late September
  • Optimum time to identify: The optimal identification period for this species is early July through early September


  • Growth form: Aquatic forb-emergent
  • Vegetative reproduction:
  • Life cycle: Annual/perennial
  • Comments: Associated Species: Nasturtium officinale, Carex stricta, Thelypteris palustris, Calamagrostis canadensis, Onoclea sensibilis, Sium suave, Eleocharis spp., Leersia oryzoides, Betula nigra, Acer saccharinum.

State status

Status and Natural Heritage Inventory documented occurrences in Wisconsin

The table below provides information about the protected status - state and federal - and the rank (S and G Ranks) for Small Forget-me-not (Myosotis laxa). See the Working List Key for more information about abbreviations. Counties shaded blue have documented occurrences for this species in the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory database. The map is provided as a general reference of where this species has been found to date and is not meant as a range map.

Documented locations of Myosotis laxa in the Natural Heritage Inventory Database as of July 2015.

Summary Information
State StatusSC
Federal Status in Wisconsinnone
State RankS2
Global RankG5
Tracked by NHIY

Habitats and landscapes

The Natural Heritage Inventory has developed scores indicating the degree to which each of Wisconsin's rare plant species is associated with a particular natural community or ecological landscape. This information is similar to that found in the Wildlife Action Plan for animals. As this is a work in progress, we welcome your suggestions and feedback.

General habitat information

  • Habitat description: Found in cold, clear forested streams.
  • Soils: Moist to wet soils.

Natural communities

This table lists the natural communities that are associated with Small Forget-me-not. Scores for natural community associations are: "significant" association (score=3), "moderate association" (score=2) or the species can be present but is only weakly associated with the community (score=1).

Ecological landscapes

This table lists the ecological landscape association scores for Small Forget-me-not. The scores (3=High, 2=Moderate, 1=Low, 0=None) also correspond to the map.

Map of the Ecological Landscapes of Wisconsin.

Species guidance

The Endangered Resources Program has developed avoidance measures and management guidelines for plants on the Natural Heritage Working List. These are a work in progress, and we welcome your suggestions and feedback. Sources used in developing this information can be found here.

Avoidance measures

These are specific actions designed to avoid "take" (mortality) of this species.

  • Avoid broadcast spraying of herbicides; use care with spot spraying.
  • Avoid known individual plant locations and conduct operations elsewhere when they are least likely to cause damage. Ideally, this would involve frozen, snow-covered ground. However, in areas of the state where frozen conditions are unreliable, very dry soils late in the growing season might be the best available alternative. Consult with a biologist, if needed.

Management guidance

Management guidelines are additional considerations that may help maintain or enhance habitat for this species

  • Minimize disturbance to hydrology, including soil disturbance from rutting.
  • Follow BMPs, especially around streams and use care near ravines, steep slopes, cliffs, rock outcrops, etc.


Small Forget-me-not Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Small Forget-me-not Photo.

Photo © Margery Melgaard.

Small Forget-me-not Photo.

Photo ©  flora.cyberia.

Small Forget-me-not Photo.

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Small Forget-me-not Photo.

Myosotis laxa

Photo by Kevin Doyle, Wisconsin DNR.

Support for Wisconsin's rare plant information has been provided by the Division of Forestry, the Endangered Resources Fund and the Wisconsin Rare Plant Preservation Fund. To donate, visit the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin [exit DNR].

Last revised: Wednesday, May 05, 2021
Southwest Savanna Southern Lake Michigan Coastal Western Coulees and Ridges Southeast Glacial Plains Central Sand Hills Central Lake Michigan Coastal Central Sand Plains Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Northeast Sands Western Prairie North Central Forest Northern Highlands Northwest Lowlands Northwest Sands Northwest Lowlands Superior Coastal Plains Forest Transition