This section is from the book "British Wild Flowers - In Their Natural Haunts Vol2-4", by A. R. Horwood. Also available from Amazon: A British Wild Flowers In Their Natural Haunts.
Though no species of this genus have yet been found in England in ancient deposits, they are known from Gothland, Sweden. In Arctic Europe, the Canaries, Siberia, Dahuria, and West Asia, or the North Temperate and Arctic Zones, this plant is found generally. In Great Britain it is found in N. Wilts, N. Hants, E. Sussex in the Channel province; not in Kent in the Thames province, or Middlesex, Oxford, Bucks. In Anglia it is found only in Suffolk and Norfolk, in the Severn province in East Gloucs, Monmouth, Worcester, Warwick, Stafford, Salop. In Wales it grows only in Carnarvon and Anglesea, in the Trent province it is general, but not in Lincs, and not in Mid Lancs in the Mersey province; but it occurs throughout the Humber and Tyne provinces, in Cumberland, in the Lake province, in Dumfries, Kirkcudbright, W. Lowlands, Berwick, Edinburgh, in E. Low-lands, Stirling, Forfar, Kincardine, in E. Highlands, and in N. Ebudes. It is found in Yorks at 1200 ft. This species is absent from Ireland.
The Wood Forget-me-not is very local in its distribution, and is perhaps most uniformly dispersed in central England, where it is abundant and widespread in woods and copses, so much so as in places to give quite as characteristic an appearance as the Bluebell in spring.
This is one of the tallest of Forget-me-nots, growing usually in dense clumps, with a tall, erect stem, branched above, with oblong, lance-shaped leaves on long leaf-stalks, with spreading hairs.
The large flowers are a beautiful pale blue like enamel. They are borne on large loose one-sided cymes on long flower-stalks, twice as long as the calyx, which is 5-fid, divided more than half its length, spreading, with unequal segments, which are acute, and is rounded below and closed in fruit. The corolla limb is flat and longer than the tube, which is straight. The nuts are brown, keeled, and attached by the narrow end.
The flower is 2 ft. high. It is in bloom in June and July. The Wood Forget-me-not is perennial, increasing by division, and equal to garden forms.
The anthers attached to the corolla just above the stigma project above the corolla when the flower opens, are inclined upwards, and open longitudinally, being covered with pollen inside like a figure-of-eight, .005 m. by .003 m. The flower is homogamous, i.e. anthers and stigmas mature together. The flowers are conspicuous, and many insects are attracted to them in fine weather. A fly sucking honey settles for but 2-3 sec. The concealed honey is contained at the base of the ovary in the bottom of the tube, 2-3 mm. long. An insect inserts its proboscis between the stigma and anthers, which can be done from any side, so that a bee or other insect touching the anthers in one will touch the stigma in the next; and as the proboscis is withdrawn and again inserted a fly also self-pollinates it. When self-pollinated it is fertile. The plant is visited largely by bees, An-drena, and flies, Eristalis, Syritta, Rhingia, Scatophaga, Echinomyia, Onesia.
Photo. H. Irving - Wood Forget-me-not (myosotis Sylvatica, Hoffm.)
The flowers are odorous in the evening.
The seeds are hooked, and catch in the wool of animals.
The only other name for Wood Forget-me-not is Cat's Eyes.
Essential Specific Characters: 217. Myosotis sylvatica, Hoffm. - Stem tall, erect, branched above, with spreading hairs, leaves oblong, lanceolate, stalks of lower leaves dilated, flowers bright blue, limb longer than tube, flat, calyx round below, hairs on calyx hooked.