Lucy Corrander's picture


Observed: 2nd April 2011 By: Lucy CorranderLucy Corrander’s reputation in PlantsLucy Corrander’s reputation in PlantsLucy Corrander’s reputation in Plants
                               Horse Tail (Equisetum sp.) early stage.

Can't describe it better than in the picture! (don't have the vocabulary) except to say this bit is about half an inch on a three/four inch stem.
I know this is the reproductive stage of Horse Tails (with spores) but where does it come from if the next stage is sterile? Is there an underground system / rhizome . . . or what?
Is there a way of knowing which variety this is, either at this point or from the more familiar plants (with green spikes sticking out from whorls)?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) interacts


Chalkie's picture

Looks like Field Horsetail

The fertile spikes and sterile spikes are part of the same plant (sort of similar to flowering plants having flowers and leaves) and are connected underground.
When the spores are released, they grow into a totally different type of tiny plant that looks more like a liverwort (called the gametophyte). This then produces male and female parts. In wet weather the female part is fertilised and produces the beginning of the sporophyte - the spore producing plant. That develops into the underground plant that then grows the fertile and sterile spikes that we think of as horsetails.