Horsetail

photo by Andrew McKinlay CC BY-NC

Horsetail is one of the oldest plants on earth, reproducing by spore rather than seed. It can be found in or near wetland areas such as marshes, rivers, and streams throughout North America.

A brown jointed stem with a spore-containing cone on top emerges in early spring. The stem turns green once the spores have been released in late spring/early summer and narrow green leaves sprout all round each of the nodes. The mature plant resembles a bottlebrush.

Did you know? Horsetail stems are coated with abrasive silicates and can be used to scrub pots or polish woodwork.