It is a short-lived herbaceous perennial or biennial growing to 12–30 cm (5–12 in) tall by 15 cm (6 in) wide, with hairy leaves and a profusion of flowers with petals longer than their tube, pink in bud then opening disc-shaped, intensely sky-blue with yellow centres in Spring.
Stace describes this plant as having the following characteristics:
- Upright, to 50 cm; softly hairy, with hairs at more-or-less right-angles to the main stem.
- Flowers sky-blue, to 6-10mm across, flat in profile; sepal tube with hooked hairs; April–July.
- Mature fruit dark brown, shiny.
- Mature calyx on spreading stalks longer than sepal tube; calyx teeth spreading to expose the ripe fruit.
- Basal leaves stalked, in a rosette; upper leaves not stalked.
- Generally found in woods, scree and rock ledges; common throughout the British Isles.
Widely cultivated throughout the temperate world, it is particularly associated with spring bedding schemes involving other spring-flowering subjects, notably daffodils, tulips, wallflowers and primulas. Typically seeds are sown one year to flower the next. Though short-lived, plants readily self-seed in favourable situations. Plants maintain leaf growth throughout winter.
M. sylvatica is also a parent of numerous cultivars in shades of pink, blue and white. The cultivars ‘Bluesylva’ and the compact ‘Blue Ball’ have gained the Royal Horticultural Society’s Award of Garden Merit.
Other cultivars include:-
- 'Blue Basket', a taller variety with deeper blue flowers
- 'Music', erect and large flowered
- 'Pompadour', compact, ball-shaped with large rose-pink flowers
- 'Snowball', white flowers
- 'Ultramarine', dwarf with very deep blue flowers
- 'Victoria Rose', bright pink flowers
It is widespread in England, Wales and the Isle of Man, although less frequent further north. It can be found along a lot of the east coast of Scotland and areas in the South West, although missing from most of the Highlands, Orkney, Shetland and the Outer Hebrides. In Ireland it is mostly found in Northern Ireland, although there are a few spots in the Republic of Ireland.
- "Myosotis sylvatica". Natural Resources Conservation Service PLANTS Database. USDA. Retrieved 15 July 2015.
- New Flora of the British Isles; Clive Stace; Third edition; 2011 printing
- The Wild Flowers of Britain and Northern Europe; Fitter, Fitter, Blamey; Collins; 3rd edition 1978
- RHS A-Z encyclopedia of garden plants. United Kingdom: Dorling Kindersley. 2008. p. 1136. ISBN 1405332964.
- "RHS Plantfinder - Myosotis 'Bluesylva' (Sylva Series)". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "RHS Plantfinder - Myosotis 'Blue Ball'". Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- "AGM Plants - Ornamental" (PDF). Royal Horticultural Society. July 2017. p. 65. Retrieved 10 April 2018.
- https://data.nbn.org.uk/Taxa/NHMSYS0000460822, NBN Gateway.Myosotis sylvatica Ehrh. ex Hoffm. [Wood Forget-me-not], NBN Gateway. Retrieved 13/04/15