Equisetum arvense

Equisetum arvense
Equisetum arvense
Equisetum arvense
Photo above Wikicommons, reproductive & right, vegetative, Renee Brecht
Britton & Brown line drawing
Botanical name: Equisetum arvense L.
Common name: horsetail
Group: horsetail
Family: Equisetaceae; a fern
Growth type: forb/herb
Duration: perennial
Origin: native
Plant height: Fertile stems: 2-12" Sterile stems: 2-24"
Foliage: May have sterile or fertile stems. The sterile stems grow after the fertile stems have withered. Sterile stems are joined with a set of whorled branches, and can have as many as 20 segments. Fertile stems are about half the height and more succulent.
Habitat: damp, sandy, partially shaded areas, but will also tolerate dry and barren sites
Range in New Jersey: statewide
Heritage ranking, if any: n/a
Misc. Cultural: Horsetail has been used medicinally, as well as a pewter and wood polish, perfumes, animal repellants, food flavorings, and as a dye.

Silica can be extracted from horsetail and is used in the manufacture of diuretic products, etc.

Equisetum = equus, "horse," seta, "bristle"; arvense = "field"

A primitive plant, well-adapted to fire. Reproduces by spores and rhizomes and tubers. Excessive amounts are toxic to livestock, though the tubers are eaten by wildlife.

Odd fact: Can accumulate up to 4.5 ounces of gold per ton of fresh plant material and is sometimes used as an indicator of gold.