The forget-me-not flower is a small flowering plant that has the scientific name ‘Myositis’ meaning mouse ear and referring to the shape of its leaves. It is found in Europe, north Asia, North America, Australia and New Zealand. Also once known as ‘Scorpion grass, how the flowers came to be called forget-me-nots is not known but there are plenty of myths around the origins of it, linking back to early Gods, Henry of Lancaster in the 1300s and a German knight in the 1400s.
However it got its name, the forget-me-not is associated with enduring memory and fidelity. It is a fairly unassuming flower, with five petals and a central yellow part. Blue is the most common colour but it also comes in white, pink and yellow.
The forget-me-not is used a lot as a symbol in mourning jewellery of the 19th century. The two rings at the top of the post both feature an onyx carving of a forget-me-not plant, instantly recognisable with its five petalled flower. Onyx was a fairly inexpensive stone to use, compared to some mourning rings that set the flower in diamonds or seed pearls.
The little locket above, part of a hair mourning brooch, shows again how effective the little flower is as a reminder to remember a dearly loved one.