Nick Upton's picture

Giant horsetail cones

Observed: 18th April 2013 By: Nick UptonNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in PlantsNick Upton’s reputation in Plants
Greater horsetail cones (Equisteum telmateia).
Greater horsetail cones (Equisteum telmateia)

Masses of horsetail cones emerging from damp meadow around a pond in chalk grassland area. Seem to match Giant horsetail from images I've seen, but I know horsetails are tricky. Stems seem to be ivory coloured more than green, reinforcing this suggested ID.

Species interactions

No interactions present.


Nick Upton's picture

Giant horsetail

If the consensus is that these are Giant horsetail cones, that adds weight to cicuta's ID of my photo of sterile horsetail stems taken at the same site last summer My initial ID was as E. arvense which got some support and there was a fair but of discussion, as the characters seemed to reflect a mix of arvense and telmateia and whether the plants could be hybrids. Of course, these may not be the same plants, but the photos were taken within feet of one another.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.

lavateraguy's picture

The fertile shoots of ...

... Equisetum vulgare are also not green, so that isn't a sufficient marker for identification.

The key in Stace doesn't give a qualitative distinction - Equisetum telmateia has bigger cones, and has more sheath teeth, but there is a grey zone.

I think that you do have Equisetum telmateia, but I need more practice with its fertile shoots.

Chris Metherell's picture

E. telmateia

There usually shouldn't be any difficulty differentiating the fertile shoots of this from E. arvense. The stems of the former are 10+ mm wide, the sheaths have 20+ teeth and the cone sections are 4+ cm long. E. arvense is much smaller - stems <6mm wide, sheaths usually about 6-12 teeth and cones <4cm long.

Chris Metherell
BSBI VC Recorder
North Northumberland

Nick Upton's picture

Giant horsetails

Many thanks Chris. Everything fits the description for E. telmeteia.

Nick Upton, naturalist and photographer.