PhilT69's picture

Horsetail - but which?

Observed: 19th April 2011 By: PhilT69PhilT69’s reputation in PlantsPhilT69’s reputation in PlantsPhilT69’s reputation in PlantsPhilT69’s reputation in Plants
Horsetail1 1

Short, stout stem (about 9cm) with pale buff-coloured cone at top. Growing on grassy roadside bank above a marshy field.

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) interacts


PhilT69's picture

what features indicate Field Horsetail? -

I would like to learn about these curious plants. Phil

Phil T.

Chalkie's picture

They look like the ones I saw yesterday!

The main thing was that they matched the picture of the ones I'd seen (not very scientific!) But I'll try and pin it down.
Fertile stems (these ones) are creamy coloured with black-tipped scales (seem to be less than about ten - Stace: "3-20 teeth"). Giant horsetail has more scales in each whorl (looks like more than ten - Stace: "(15)20-30(40) teeth") and they are paler and bigger. The other horsetails (according to pictures in my book) all have the fertile cones on top of the green'leafy' stems, rather than on separate stems like this.

But... I've now also looked in Stace, and have found that there's also E. pratense (not in my illustrated book) which starts out rather like this, but then later develops green branches. And E. sylvaticum keys out similarly, so now I'm not quite so sure.

Well I know a bit more now anyway - worth checking again in a couple of weeks to see what the non-fertile stems look like.

PhilT69's picture

Thanks, Chalkie -

I will mull that over.


Phil T.