Chatham Island forget-me-not
Image: Wei-Hang Chua | Creative Commons

Introduction

The threatened Chatham Island forget-me-not, a much loved, stunning garden plant, grows naturally on the Chatham Islands - on coastal cliffs, rock outcrops and sandy and rocky beaches.

Quick facts

  • Chatham Island forget-me-not (Myosotidium hortensia) can form clumps over a metre in diameter.
  • Stems bearing huge glossy leaves branch from a stout, cylindrical rootstock.
  • The pale blue, rarely white, flowers occur mainly from September to October.
  • Separate male and female flowers are found on the same plant. 
  • The seeds develop in dark, leathery capsules and are like those of sunflowers. 
  • They ripen from October to April.

Habitat

This showy megaherb is found on coastal cliffs, rock outcrops, on beaches just above the strand zone and in coastal forest openings. It favours the rear of boulder beaches where it grows among kelp drift and accumulated paua shells. The Chatham Island forget-me-not can be seen in Henga Scenic Reserve and at Kaingaroa Point.

This glossy-leaved megaherb is widely grown in nurseries and gardens throughout New Zealand and overseas. It is beloved as a garden plant in the Chathams.

Threats

Coastal development has recently destroyed the only known wild population of white-flowered plants. Grazing, trampling and rooting by domestic and feral animals and weed encroachment, especially by marram grass, are major threats to this species.

Read more about the Chatham Island forget-me-not on the New Zealand Plant Conservation Network website.

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