- What does forget-me-not flowers symbolise?
- Forget Me Not Flower Meaning through Symbolism & Uses
In this blog we’ll explore the forget me not flower meaning. This small flower evokes various feelings such as remembrance and melancholy.
November 10 is the Forget Me not Day in association with the feelings that evokes this flower. On this day people connect with family and friends and remember their lovers. This flower is also the official Friday flower.
The forget me not flower is part of the Boraginaceae family and it’s scientific name is Myosotis. It usually blooms from May to October (depending on the region) and has around 50 species.
It is rich in metaphor and mythology that helps to give this flower its depth of meaning.
Let’s dive right into it.
What does forget-me-not flowers symbolise?
The forget-me-not flower symbolises faithful love. It also suggests that you are clinging on too tightly to the past and it also means remembrances. The possible power of the this plant is healing.
Myosotis species is native to both Europe and Asia and also grow throughout the United States.
The forget me not flower meaning originates in Europe. Although it is native to Britain the name forget me not was not used until the 19th century.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge was the one to give it the name. It is also interesting to note that he used to travel to Germany and hence he was exposed to the folklore.
Forget Me Not Flower Meaning in Germanic Folklore
The name of the flower comes from a Germanic legend. The legend tells the story of a couple that was taking a walk on the eve of their marriage by the banks of Danube.
The young bride saw a cluster of flowers which she admired. Her fiance wanted to pick them up for her but instead fell into the river.
Before he was taken away by the strong current of the river, he threw the flowers to her and cried out loud ‘Vergiss mein nicht!’or Forget Me Not.
And she cherished the flower of brilliant hue wore it in braids in her hair and called it forget me not.
Princess Marie of Baden and Louis Napoleon
A writer in All the Year Round (a magazine during the Victorian period) writes about the origins of the Forget Me Not flower meaning.
The Princess Marie of Baden was strolling along the banks of the Rhine with her cousin, Louis Napoleon. Their discussion revolved around the degenerative behaviour of modern suitors as opposed to ancient times.
As they lingered around Mannheim, the place where the Neckar river joins the Rhine, a sudden gust of wind carried away a flower from the princess’ hair.
It went rushing into the waters. Princess Marie thought this incident would be a perfect way for a man to show that the old gallantry was not dead.
So her cousin jumped into the river battling with the rough water. He disappeared and reappeared again and again. After much effort he reached the shores safe and sound. He handed the flower to his cousin and said ” Take it, Marie, but never again talk to me of your cavalier of the olden times”.
Biblical Origins of Forget Me Not Flower Meaning
A Christian legend states that when Adam was in the Garden of Eden, he walked through it and named each plant. He also cautioned them not to forget their names, then he turned to leave.
One little flower however, was heedless and forgot its name. She was ashamed of her inattention and forgetfulness, so she asked the father of men “By what name dost thou call me?” and he replied “Forget Me Not”. And so the Myosotis became the symbol of remembrance.
Henry of Lancaster
Another origin for the forget me not flower meaning is by Miss Strickland in her work on the Queens of England.
Henry of Lancaster (Henry IV) she says appears to be the person to give Myosotis its emblematical and poetical meaning.
He wrote it during his period of his exile on his collar of S.S. with the initial letter of his mot or “Soveigne vous de moy” rendering it a symbol of remembrance.
Henry of Lancaster exchange this token of goodwill and remembrance with his hostess at the time wife of the Duke of Bretagne.
The Italians call the Myosotis, Noniiscordar di me. In one of their ballads they explain the forget me not flower meaning as the spirit of a young girl.
The young girl drowned and was transformed into the Myosotis growing by the river’s banks.
According to the myth of Clytie by Ovid, some say that the forget me not is the sun-flower of the classics.
It’s the same flower into which the poor Clytie was metamorphosed. The pale blossom which held firmly by its root and still turns to the sun she loves.
Forget Me Not Flower Meaning through Symbolism & Uses
- A simple and uncomplicated expression of love and friendship.
- Forget Me Not when combined with roses, violets and pansies make a perfect Valentine bouquet.
- A forget-me-not silver brooch with the initials of a loved one would make a poignant memento mori.
- The forget me not flower is the official Friday flower.
- The flower’s link to love and friendship is possibly why in 1949, Alaska named the forget me not flower the state flower.
- The forget me not flower appears as embroidery on the slippers, ladies’ bonnets pins and children’s caps in ancient China.
- In ancient times if a beloved one became a soldier then they would carry a locket with the forget me not flower engraved. The locket would contain a lock of hair of their loved one as a reminder.
- Little books which would feature poems by various poets, articles on flowers, birds and country churchyards were a source of middle class drawing rooms.
- During Victorian times, it was common for a lady to send a distant valued friend Forget Me Not flowers as a way to say “I am thinking of you.”
- The Germans are fond of planting the Forget me not flowers on their graves. It’s perhaps due to its name and also the beauty of the flower being lost if its taken far from the water.
- After the battle of Waterloo, it is said that forget me not flowers sprung from different parts of the field which was mixed with the blood of heroes.
- Indian borage (Trichodesma indicum)is a family of the forget me not flower. Its name is Andhahuli and it is a medicinal plant in Ayurveda.
If you liked this blog then make sure to check out other flowers and plants with healing powers.
Cumo, C. (Ed.). (2013). Encyclopedia of Cultivated Plants [3 volumes]: From Acacia to Zinnia. ABC-CLIO.
Dietz, S. T. (2022). The complete language of flowers the complete language of flowers: A definitive and illustrated history – pocket edition. Wellfleet Press.
Thiselton Dyer, T. F. (1994). Folklore of Plants. Llanerch Press.
Watts, D., & Watts, D. C. (2007). Dictionary of Plant Lore. Academic Press.