A family of herbs with rough stems and leaves and perfect flowers, regular except in the case of Echium.
Doubtless this pretty little plant is familiar by name, at least, to all my readers. Besides its own peculiar charms it has a great many legendary and poetical associations connected with it. It has also been a favorite flower for painters the world over.
Forget-me-not is a common wild flower in Europe and Asia, but is not indigenous in this country. It does, however, appear as an escape and is fairly well established in Nova Scotia, New England, New York and southwards. The stem is rather stout but weak, it rise about a foot in height, and is smooth but the leaves are rough and hairy. The flowers are borne in one-sided curving terminal clusters. The five, broad, rounded petals are sky-blue with a yellow eye; the undeveloped buds are pink. The generic name was given because one of the species has soft leaves shaped like mouse ears. The specific name refers to the curved tendency of the flower stalk containing the buds, it being curved after the fashion of a scorpion's tail. There are several species of Myosotis, the present one having the largest and most beautiful flowers.
A. Forget-me-not. Myosotis scorpioides.
B. Wild Comfrey. Cynoglossum virginianum.
Wild Comfrey (Cynoglossum Virginianum) is a common, rough-stemmed perennial growing in deciduous woods from Me. to Mich, and southwards. The tubular corolla is pale blue; it is set in a five-parted hairy calyx. The basal leaves are large and ovate; the stem ones clasp the flower stalk with somewhat heart-shaped bases. The fruit succeeding the flowers, is composed of four very bristly nutlets.
A. Blue-weed; Viper's Bugloss.
B. Small Bugloss.
This* peculiar plant is locally abundant in dry fields and waste places in the East. It is a waif that has strayed across the ocean, and, I must confess, it is one that farmers wish had stayed in its native countries. It is often regarded as a pest and is a difficult one to get rid of. Of course the botanist welcomes it, as he does any new species that he comes upon; it has unusual flowers both as to form and to manner of growth. We can safely say that Blue-Weed will never be popular as a flower for bouquets; one has but to touch it to find the reason, the stem is thickly set with light-colored bristles as sharp as needle points and even more penetrating.
The stem is light green, spotted with purple; it grows erect from 1 to 3 feet high. The alternating leaves are rough, hairy and clasping. The flowers grow on leafy spike, springing from the stem near the top. When the first flowers appear, in June, they are close to the stalk at the base of the rolled-up, leafy spike. As they continue to bloom, the spike gradually straightens and the open flowers appear farther and farther from the stem, leaving behind them a train of wrinkled nutlets in the axils of the small leaves. The showy, tubular corolla is bright blue, and is exceeded in length by the long stamens and three-parted style; the buds are pink.
This is a very rough, bristly-stemmed species, also naturalized from Europe, and now found in waste places near dwellings, from Me. to Minn, and south to Va. The lanceolate leaves are seated on the stem; they diminish to the size of bracts and pass into the racemes of small, tubular violet-blue flowers that terminate the branching stem. The curved corolla is but little longer than its enclosing, hairy calyx.