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So what are the features I should have relied on to be sure it was this species rather than just relying on what I've been told it was in the past.
... which have achlorophyllous (i.e. not green) fertile (i.e. with cones at the apex) stems. The other one, Equisetum telmateia, has more sheath teeth at the nodes, and a larger cone, and is generally more robust.
Useful to know.
Lat/Lng: 51.546762058095, -0.33246517181396
OS grid ref: TQ157844