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Forget-me-not: two new flowers discovered in New Zealand gravely endangered

The new species, Moore's forget-me-not (Myosotis mooreana) is known from only a single location. Photo by: Lehnebach et al.
The new species, Moore’s forget-me-not (Myosotis mooreana) is known from only a single location. Photo by: Lehnebach et al.

New Zealand scientists have discovered two new species of forget-me-nots (flowers in the genus Myosotis), both of which are believed to be endangered. Discovered in Kahurangi National Park on the South Island, the new species highlight the diversity of the tiny flowers in New Zealand.

“New Zealand forget-me-nots are far different from their blue flower relatives commonly found in people’s gardens, and some native species have yellow, pink, or tube-like brown-bronze flower,” the discoverer, Carlos A. Lehnebach, said in a press release. “New Zealand is also home to the smallest forget-me-not in the world!”

Lenebach dubbed the two new species Chaffey’s forget-me-not (Myosotis chaffeyorum) and Moore’s forget-me-not (Myosotis mooreana), the latter of which is only known from one location where six individuals were discovered. Five populations are known of Chaffey’s forget-me-not, which is found only at the bases of limestone cliffs. Both species are classified as ‘Nationally Critical’ in New Zealand.

In all, 39 species of Mythosis are found in New Zealand. Their are numerous legends surrounding the name ‘forget-me-nots,’ which originated in France in the late Middle Ages.

CITATION: Lehnebach CA (2012) Two new species of forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) from New Zealand. PhytoKeys 16: 53–64. doi: 10.3897/phytokeys.16.3602.

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