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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Thursday - June 20, 2013

From: Bethlehem, PA
Region: Mid-Atlantic
Topic: Invasive Plants, Non-Natives, Herbs/Forbs
Title: Forget-me-nots choking a spring in Bethlehem PA
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Hi Mr. Smarty Plants, I am restoring a native plant area along a spring that feeds directly into our local creek. Right now the spring is becoming choked with forget-me-nots, that I am trying to pull up. I realize that the forget-me-nots will just grow right back if I don't plant something else to keep them away. Do you have any advice for native plants to put along the spring to help stop the forget-me-not invasion? Thanks!

ANSWER:

First of all, may we inquire what you are doing with either Eritrichium nanum (Alpine forget-me-not) or Eritrichium nanum var. elongatum (Arctic alpine forget-me-not) growing in Pennsylvania? Looking at the USDA Plant Profile Map of Eritrichium nanum (Alpine forget-me-not) shows it grows natively only in western states and is the state flower of Alaska, a long way from Pennsylvania. Ditto Eritrichium nanum var. elongatum (Arctic alpine forget-me-not), except it doesn't grow in Alaska.

We think this is the usual confusion of a common name for two different plants. From Invasive Plants of Wisconsin, here is information on Myosotis sylvatica, (wood forget me not), which is a species of flowering plant in the family Boraginaceae, native to Europe. That article also mentions Myosotis scorpiodes, which is common in decidedly wet areas, and may well be what is clogging your spring. This means we will have no information on it in our Native Plant Database, but there is some mention of controlling it in the Invasive Plants of Wisconsin website. Since you certainly don't want to add any herbicides to your creek, you will probably just have to keep pulling it out. If it is well-established it is unlikely that you would be successful planting another plant on top of it in hopes of crowding it out.

 

From the Image Gallery


Arctic alpine forget-me-not
Eritrichium nanum var. elongatum

Arctic alpine forget-me-not
Eritrichium nanum var. elongatum

Arctic alpine forget-me-not
Eritrichium nanum var. elongatum

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