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Horsetail Update

June 12, 2010
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Back in April, I was quite fascinated by the huge strobili I’d found growing on the railway embankment, which I identified as Great Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia).

Since then, I kept an eye on the embankment, waiting for the sterile stems to come up and confirm my ID. For the longest time, I saw nothing – not in that spot, anyway. I saw it growing in other places along the embankment (and it was unbelievably beautiful!), but not where I’d picked the strobilus. Nothing to be seen there but nettles and brambles.

What made it even more difficult to find anything was my insane working hours in May, which made it plain impossible to go scrambling up the embankment after work, and risk missing my train, as I’m quite ready to do after a normal eight-hours day.

It wasn’t until the end of May, when I happened to be looking out the train window on the way out of the train station instead of on the way in – when the train is moving more slowly still, making it easier to see things – that I noticed that there were horsetails  poking out from among the nettles and brambles.

The embankment

Still, it took another two weeks or so until I found the time to go there and take pictures. So beautiful! If I had a garden, I might try growing them there (planted in a pot or barrier to keep from spreading too much) – they’re so pretty, just  looking at them makes me happy.

I picked one stem to take more pictures. Longer than my arm already – I’ll be curious to see how tall they grow, though they’ll probably be mowed down before they’ve reached their full height.

Again, I had to wonder what the conductor and the other passengers thought as I sat on the train taking pictures of horsetails. But do I care? Of course not!

Left: Equisetum arvense (Field Horsetail, Common Horsetail). Right: E. telmateia (Great Horsetail)

This horsetail is great, in every sense of the word.

3 Comments leave one →
  1. Sahi permalink
    September 15, 2011 19:27

    I think we have the field horsetail growing in front of our house. Although it might of course just be a cousin. We usually just pull them out. (Seeing how they grow right in front of our door, and it’s nicer to people if they can actually enter without having to cross the forest.)

    • September 15, 2011 19:57

      Yes, field horsetail can be an annoying weed, and will grow out of any crack!

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