Describing and classifying native forget-me-nots

Te Papa researcher: Heidi Meudt

I aim to complete a taxonomic revision of all southern hemisphere forget-me-not species (Myosotis, Boraginaceae), which includes about 45 described species and c. 20 informal tag-named species, some of which may be new species to describe and name. I collect and analyse data from morphology, pollen, DNA, and other characteristics to determine how many species there are, how to tell them apart, and where they are found, and help update their conservation status.

This collections-based research on forget-me-nots is a high priority for the Department of Conservation and other stakeholders because over 80% of the species are Threatened, At Risk, Extinct, or Data Deficient.

People on top of a hill in the clouds


Our team of botanists on a forget-me-not field trip in Fiordland. Photo by Heidi Meudt. Te Papa

A hand holding a shrub the shape of Africa


Myosotis glabrescens. Photo by Heidi Meudt. Te Papa

Main collaborators: Jessie Prebble, colleagues from the Department of Conservation, Carlos Lehnebach.

Funding: Partnership with Manaaki Whenua Landcare Research.

Representative publications:

Prebble JM, Symonds VV, Meudt HM, Tate JA. 2019. How many pygmy forget-me-not species are there? Testing the morphology-based taxonomy of the New Zealand native Myosotis pygmaea species group with population genetic data. Taxon 68(4): 731-750.

Meudt HM, Prebble JM. 2018. Species limits and taxonomic revision of the bracteate-prostrate group of Southern Hemisphere forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) including description of three new species endemic to New Zealand. Australian Systematic Botany 31: 48-105.

Meudt HM, Prebble JM, Lehnebach CA. 2015. Native New Zealand forget-me-nots (Myosotis, Boraginaceae) comprise a Pleistocene species radiation with very low genetic divergence. Plant Systematics and Evolution 301: 1455-1471.