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Current Threat Status
2012 - Not Threatened
Previous Threat Status
2009 - Not Threatened
2004 - Not Threatened
Myosotis forsteri Lehm.
Vascular - Native
Myosotis hamiltonii Colenso; Myosotis tenuifolia Colenso pro parte; Myosotis polyantha Colenso pro parte
Endemic. North and South Islands (from the Mangamuka Range southwards but scarce north of the Waikato)
Forest and streamsides. Usually riparian but also found in forest around springs, seepages and on damp, shaded rock outcrops (especially limestone or a similar base-rich rock)
Sparingly to heavily branched laxly tufted perennial herb. Rosette usually single sometimes up to 3 present, leaf-lamina broad-elliptic to orbicular, 15-60 × 10-45 mm, tip rounded, ± mucronate, petiole equaly to or longer than lamina-length, narrow and rather well-defined; hairs short, stiff or ± flexuous, usually appressed, sparse and not overlapping, not retrorse on undersurface. Lateral branches few to many, basally lax otherwise ascending to erect, sometimes branched, 80-600 mm long, internodes usually equal to or longer than leaves. Stem-leaves few, lower ones spathulate, upper sessile and broad-ovate, c. 10-15 × 6-13 mm. long, tip rounded and mucronate; hairs short, usually appressed, sparse on both surfaces. Cymes ebracteate, except sometimes towards base, 6-10-flowered, mostly simple; internodes between fruits usually greater in length that calyx; pedicels up to 6 mm long, up to 10 to a stem in fruit. Calyx 2.5-5.0 mm long, lobes barely cut ot half calyx length, rather broad, subacute; hairs sparse, mostly confined to margins and ribs, long and straight above, shorter and slightly hooked towards base. Corolla white, 2-6 mm diameter, tube 2-4 mm long, cylindric but widest at mouth, lobes broadly rounded; filaments very short, fixed below scales, anthers c.0.5 mm long, partially exserted above scales; style < calyx in fruit, stigma capitate. Nutlet 1.2-1.8 × 0.9-1.1 mm, elliptic, ovate elliptic or broadly ovate-elliptic, black.
Myosotis forsteri is recognised by the combination of having ebracteate inflorescences borne on laxly ascending to erect branches; calyx-hairs showing a continuous range of sizes with many or all of the larger ones not hooked (uncinate), and by the absence of retrorse hairs on the undersides of the rosette-leaves. The leaf hairs of this species are characteristically short and sparse, the inflorescences long and laxyly ascending to erect with the internodes between the fruits longer than the calyx length. These attributes encompass a wide range of diversity and there is little doubt that the current circumscription of Myosotis forsteri contains a number of additional units worthy of formal description (see taxonomic notes). Myosotis forsteri can be difficult to distinguish from the much rarer M. petiolata var. pansa (see description of that species) and especially M. venosa (which has anthers exserted above corolla scales and subtle hair differences). Indeed Colenso even named two species M. polyantha and M. tenuifolia which included elements of both M. forsteri and M. venosa! In the field Myosotis forsteri is probably best distinguished by the distinctly petiolate, dark green oval leaves with orange dotting on the paler (silvery) leaf undersides. In this species the rosettes are often solitary or if multiple - rather open and lax with the inflorescences typically lax near the base, then ascending to erect, rathered elongated and bearing widely spaced flowers held at a wide angle from the stem.
October - April
Main Flower Colour
November - May
Easily grown and tolerant of a wide range of conditions (except full sun and drying out). It grows well in a moist but free draining soil, and does best in semi-shade. Fresh seed germinates readily, and plants once established, freely set seed, producing numerous seedlings. However, in humid climates plants are prone to powdery mildew infections, and like many other indigenous forget-me-nots plants are prone rust infections, which make the leaves swollen and unsightly.
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Myosotis forsteri is a species complex in urgent need to revision. There are a wide range of distinct, true-breeding races spanning the country which are currently placed within a broad taxonomic concept of this species. Many of them probably merit recognition at species rank
References and further reading
Allan, H.H. 1961: Flora of New Zealand. Vol. I. Goverment Printer, Wellington.
This page last updated on 17 Apr 2014