Greetings to all our Village plant enthusiasts. Welcome to this weeks’ “bi-Weekly Plant of Interest”. This week we’re focusing on our first member of the Boraginaceae (Borage) family.
Myosotis semiamplexicaulis (Forget-me-not in English, Vergeet-my-nie in Afrikaans & sethutu in Sesotho) is a bushy herb which may grow to 600mm tall. This little bush prefers moist ground amongst scrub and often rock (near ravines or on well-shaded southern mountain slopes) with an altitudinal range of 1400 right through to 3000 m A.S.L.
The genus name Myosotis harks from 2 Greek words – myos meaning mouse and otis meaning ear, most likely referring to the characteristic petal shape. The species name likewise comprises 2 words – semi or “partial” and amplexicaulis or “stem grasping” in reference to the leaves at their basal point closest to the stem.
The leaves of M. semiamplexicaulis are alternate and roughly lanceolate, complete with fine short bristles. The inflorescence is much-branched and the flowers are blue-white with some even tinged pink. These flowers are small, measuring approximately 7 mm wide and the throat of each flower alternates white or yellow scales. Flowering occurs from Nov-Mar. Uses:
Who wouldn’t want these little guys as ground cover in their gardens? Planted near a fence or under a windowsill they give a garden a soft welcoming feel.
Used traditionally in medicines and in enhancing memory retention in young traditional healers.
The SANBI conservation status for M. ampexicaulis is listed as DDT (Data Deficient – Taxonomically problematic . SANBI declares a species is DDT when taxonomic problems hinder the distribution range and habitat from being well defined, so that an assessment of risk of extinction is not possible).
Article and photographs by Damien Coulson
Head ranger: Clarens Village Nature Reserve
Clarens News: 5th December 2014
Click here for more articles by Damien on the plants found in the Clarens Village Nature Reserve