Invasive Plants of Wisconsin
|Myosotis sylvatica Ehrh. ex Hoffm.
Myosotis sylvatica is an invasive species of forests, forest openings, abandoned home sites, roadsides, etc. Many people will recognize the genus of these plants readily, but there are several species in Wisconsin and errors are frequently made in identification if a key is not carefully followed. A roughly similar species, Myosotis scorpioides is common in decidedly wet sites.
The flowers of Myosotis sylvatica have 5 petals, with tips folded out to form a nearly flat face and the opening between the petals at the center of the flower is quite small and accentuated by a yellow "eye". The most common color of the petals is blue, but it may range from blue to pink to white, sometimes all three in the same area together. This species is apparently a perennial, but it produces seeds readily and spreads rapidly by seed in the immediate area as well as being easily tracked to new sites by people or other animals.
Myosotis sylvatica is widely distributed in Wisconsin and the map seriously underestimates the commonness of this species. It appears to be in a period of rapid expansion in Wisconsin. It has been widely known in Door County for many years, but has dramatically expanded its numbers there in the last decade, and rapid expansion has been noted in Forest County in June of 2008.
Control methods are not clearly established. The plants can be easily pulled up and small populations may be controlled in this way, but it is not known how long the seeds will remain viable in the soil. If someone has personal experience with controlling Myosotis sylvatica I would appreciate hearing of the methods used.