Saturday, March 10, 2012

Flower of the Week: the Forget-Me-Not

Myosotis arvensis

A symbol of true love, hope and remembrance, the Forget-me-not was  once considered a wildflower, rather than a garden plant. By the latter half of the nineteenth century, bunches of these small blue flowers were being sold in Parisian markets "for the purpose of making the gift of love and friendship." At the same time in Germany, leaving forget-me-nots on the graves of loved ones was common.

This flower's botanical name comes from the Greek word for "mouse ear," a reference to the shape of the plant's leaves. A common legend of the forget-me-not's origin is the tale of a young couple who were walking beside the Danube when they spotted some blue flowers in the river. The young man dove in to fetch them for his love, despite her protests that the river's currents were too strong. He picked the flowers and had almost reached the river bank when he was caught in the whirl of the current. He used his last amount of strength to toss the bouquet to her and with his dying breath he called, "Forget me not!" His memory was never far from the young woman's mind, and she wore the blue flowers in her hair for the rest of her life. *

*From Samantha Gray's The Secret Language of Flowers

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