Nick Upton's picture

Which horsetail?

Observed: 29th June 2012 By: Nick UptonNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in Plants
Common / Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) sterile stems growing in marsy ground around a pond, Wiltshire, UK, June.
Common / Field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) sterile stems growing in marsy ground around a pond, Wiltshire, UK, June.
Description:

Horsetails around 2 foot high growing in marshy ground around fringe of a pond in Wiltshire. E. arvense I think, but am not sure how to separate this species from other possibles for sure.

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Comments

markwilson's picture

horsetail

There is something not quite "right" the stem seems rather broad - but I still come back to E.arvense - there is a narrow colourless (scarious) margin to the teeth on the stem

This site might help

http://www.nhm.ac.uk/hosted_sites/bps/ferncrib/Equisetum.pdf

If you go to the Botanical Society of the British Isles (BSBI) site there are links to help identify "difficult" plant groups.

Rachy Ramone's picture

There's about 20 of them...

...how much detail do you need? *laughs*

If it helps, Poland says: (taking what I assume to be the most common ones)

Common or Field Horsetail (E. arvense) branches are 4-angled.

Marsh Horsetail (E. palustre) branches are 5-angled.

Wood Horsetail (E. sylvaticum) branches are 4-angled and repeatedly branched.

Hope this helps?

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

Rachy Ramone's picture

Poland says...

...Great Horsetail (E. telmateia) has stems ivory-white or pinkish, stems smooth but with 18-40 or more v. faint grooves.

Would you call these stems "ivory white"?

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

lavateraguy's picture

I was vacillating between ...

... Equisetum telmateia, Equisetum arvense and Equisetum palustre. The stems aren't white enough for me to confidently call it as Equisetum telmateia, but they seem too pale for Equisetum arvense.

The length of the first internode of the branches, and the cones, aren't visible, which exhausts the features I use to distinguish Equisetum arvense from Equisetum palustre, nor can I see how many angles the branches have.

It might be possible to work something out from the sheath teeth with the aid of the Equisetum> crib.

Rachy Ramone's picture

"Branches"?

I can't actually see any branches on the ones in the photo... am I missing something? They appear to all have just the main stem.

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

lavateraguy's picture

Branches

In the terminology used for horsetails branches refers to the things occurring in whorls at each internode of the main stem.

Rachy Ramone's picture

Oh!

Thought they were the "leaves"!!

*hangs head in shame*

Rachy Ramone

How to take close-ups with cheap phone and hand-lens:
http://tree-and-shrub-id.blogspot.co.uk/p/how-to-close-ups.html
Field Guides for Budding Botanists:
http://www.amazon.co.uk/-/e/B01A8YB0WY

lavateraguy's picture

Two years ago ...

... when I was just starting on recording horsetails (and ferns) I might not have known either. (And in Hippuris, IIRC, the analogous structures are leaves.)

I don't know whether they are homologous to the stems and branches of seed plants - no doubt someone does - but the pattern of node and internode is a point in favour of homology. (Opuntia pads are homologous to stem internodes, so it can be seem that homologs aren't always naively obvious.)

Nick Upton's picture

Tricky

I knew horsetails were tricky.... I need to go out now today but will post some images I have later of what I think must be giant horstails taken in a local wood - more like4-5 foot high and some crops to compare stem/ branching details with. Let me know if any close crops of these marshland medium sized horsetails would be useful.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

landgirl's picture

Sheath teeth...

Have the appearance of E. arvense - pale green with black tips (Phillips); less than 20 per ring (Stace 3). Can't judge the size of the plants from the photos.

Nick Upton's picture

Thanks

for all the input. The consensus seems to favour arvense, with the possibility of these being hybrids They were around 18 inches to 2 feet high. Am about to post what I think are giant horsetails for comparison: much taller, stems a bit paler, but quite similar in other ways to my untrained eyes.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

Nick Upton's picture

Cones now showing...

I returned to the same spot as I took these images and posted shots of developing and mature cones http://www.ispot.org.uk/node/323100, which seem a good match for E telmateia . There's no guarantee these are the same plants, but the images were taken within feet of one another and may help support cicuta58's ID above.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.