Myosotis stolonifera

Tracheophyta MagnoliopsidaBoraginaceaeMyosotisMyosotis stolonifera


A perennial herb growing by rills and along base-rich spring-lines and flushes. Mainly upland, reaching 820 m on Cross Fell (Cumberland), and down to 130 m in the Lune valley (Cumberland).



World Distribution

Oceanic Boreal-montane element; confined to Portugal, Spain and Britain.

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 8

Moisture (Ellenberg): 9

Reaction (Ellenberg): 5

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 4

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 1.6

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.2

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1362

Height (cm): 20

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary




Clonality - primary

Shortly creeping, stolons in illuminated medium

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 115

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 0

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: 0.77

JNCC Designations


Scarce Atlas Account

Scarce Atlas Account: 

Myosotis stolonifera (DC.) Gay ex Leresche & Levier

Pale forget-me-not

Status: scarce


This is a montane species, found over a wide variety of rocks although absent from limestone. It occurs in somewhat base-poor springs and seepage areas, soakways and flushes on the hillsides and in the valleys by pools, in ditches and in the backwaters of streams. The hillside springs and flushes are usually dominated by bryophytes, especially Dicranella palustris and Philonotis fontana; higher plant associates include Cardamine pratensis, Chrysosplenium oppositifolium, Montia fontana, Saxifraga stellaris, Stellaria uliginosa and, less frequently, Epilobium alsinifolium. Myosotis secunda and the more base-tolerant Sphagnum spp., such as S. recurvum, may be associated with it in valley pools. It descends to 130 metres in the Lune Gorge and ascends to 820 metres near Cross Fell.

The stems of this perennial species root freely at the nodes and during the latter part of the summer they branch freely, producing a dense, floating mass of vegetation which breaks up and is an effective means of vegetative propagation. Seed production is apparently normal.

This species was apparently first collected by A. Wilson near Sedbergh in 1892 but it was not recognised as a new British species until 1926 when it was described by C.E. Salmon as M. brevifolia. It was subsequently realised that it was conspecific with M. stolonifera. The near tripling in the number of records, compared with those in the Atlas (Perring & Walters 1962), probably reflects past confusion with M. secunda and also a greater awareness of the species. It is probably still under-recorded. 

This species is endemic to Europe, and is confined to northern Portugal, Spain and Britain.


R. W. M. Corner & G. Halliday

Atlas text references

Atlas (214a)
Stewart A, Pearman DA, Preston CD
1994.  Scarce plants in Britain.
Welch D
1967.  Notes on Myosotis scorpioides agg. Watsonia. 6:276-279.