This section is from the book "Handbook Of Hardy Trees, Shrubs, And Herbaceous Plants", by W. Botting Hemsley. Also available from Amazon: Handbook of hardy trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants.
Annual or perennial herbs more or less hispidly hairy. Radical leaves petiolate; cauline sessile, oblong or lanceolate. Flowers in scorpioid cymes or racemes, with or without bracts. Calyx-tube equalling or exceeding the 5-lobed limb. Corolla funnel-shaped, with 5 notched scales in the throat. Stamens included. Nuts 4, very small, and usually smooth and glossy. The species of this genus are found in the temperate regions of both hemispheres. The name is from mouse, and ovs ,
ear, from the resemblance of the soft hairy leaves of some species. We have eight indigenous species, popularly known by the names of Forget-me-not and Scorpion Grass. The follow-ing enumeration includes the best of them.
1. if. palustris. Forget-me-not. - A perennial species growing in wet marshy places and on the borders of ditches Leaves bright glossy green, oblong or spathulate, upper slightly decurrent. Flowers sky-blue with a yellow centre. One of the loveliest members of the native flora, producing its pretty blossoms from May to July. M. lingulata, syn. M. caespitosa, hardly differs in its smaller flowers, appressed hairs, and the style much shorter than the calyx.
2. M. sylvdtica. - An erect biennial or perennial ? 1 to 2 feet high. Radical leaves petiolate, ligulate or spathulate, acute or apiculate, clothed with spreading hairs. Flowers blue, with a yellow throat and short tube, about 4 lines in diameter. Pedicels much longer than the calyx, the latter closed in fruit. Racemes very much elongated in fruit. A common British plant northward, but quite local in the South, where, however, there is an allied species called M. arvensis, with flowers about half the size. There are several varieties of M. sylvatica in cultivation with white, pink or striped flowers.
3. M. dissitifiora. - This is a Continental species formerly grown under the name M. montana, which it is not. It differs from the last in its shorter more appressed pubescence, brighter green foliage, and relatively longer pedicels which curve upwards and inwards when in fruit, and the nutlets strongly keeled on the face. It is considered to be one of the best for bedding purposes.
4. M. alpestris, syn. M. rupicola. - A perennial of more decumbent habit than the two last, with stouter branches and less elongated racemes. Pedicels short and stout. Flowers bright blue with a yellow eye about 4 lines in diameter. This is a native of the higher mountains of North Britain, blooming in its native habitats in July and August.
5. M. Azorica. - Similar in habit to the last. The flowers of this, however, are nearly 6 lines in diameter, and purple, eventually blue, without a yellow eye; and the fruiting racemes lengthen considerably. A native of the Azores. The variety called Imperatrice Elisabeth belongs here.
M, collina and M. versicolor are the only other British species; both are dwarf annuals with small flowers, changing in the latter from yellow to blue.
Myosotidium nobile is a magnificent plant newly introduced from Chatham Island. It is a perennial, growing about 3 feet high, with large fleshy glabrous shining 7-nerved plicate leaves and dense racemes of azure-blue flowers. The flowers are about 6 lines across, and purplish towards the circumference. The fruit is composed of 4 large winged nuts.
Eritrichium nanum is a rare and diminutive alpine plant, growing in tufts, and producing an abundance of blue flowers.