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Common Horsetail: rubbing up the wrong way

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Common Horsetail: rubbing up the wrong way

Although called the common horsetail (Equisetum arvense) its scientific name of Equisetum arvense means 'horsetail of the field' and flield horsetail might be a more acuate name for it as it is not as common as the giant horsetail, well not in Dorset anyway.

This plant is related to ferns and produce fertile spores rather than pollen to fertile eggs (or seeds) that one finds in vascular plants. The common horsetail produces a fertile stem with no 'leaves' just a spore dispersing head in March and then these die back to be replaced by the green foliage from May onwards lasting into October.

The common horsetail can be seen on waste ground, road sides and bare patches of ground almost anywhere, footpaths along old railway lines are a good place to see them. They can be a troublesome weed if they get established where they shouldn't - especially in gardens. Like other horsetails they are poisonous to livestock and yet the buds are eaten as a vegetable in Japan and Korea.
 
The plant contains several medicinal elements including silicon, potassium and calcium and has been used as a cure for chilblains and open wounds. It is also used as an abrasive to polish pewters and wood!

 

If you would like to see the complete series that this post is part of click here ---->
This nature note was written by ----> Peter Orchard
This nature nore was written ----> 3 years 5 months ago

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