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Water Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile)

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Water Horsetail

Water Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile)

All horsetails can be identified by the jointed stems and from those joints arise a row of tooth-like branches, fused at the base. From here radiate out narrow branches which in this species are small or even missing altogether. Just a bare jointed stem. The fertile fronds have a cone at the apex which produces soft green spores. They are mature in mid-summer when they reach heights above a metre tall

There are only twenty species of horsetails found on earth out of many that dominated the world at the time the coal forest were laid down, more that 250 million years ago. As the name suggests this is a horsetail of wet places - ponds, lakes, swamps and marshes. It may be extremely abundant choking the waterway. It is very widespread in northern Europe . This, like all Equisetum species, is a herbaceous perennial plant. The large number of aerial stems arise from the horizontal rhizome. Photosynthesis is carried out by the sterile stems which are green. Leaves are reduce and fused into a sheath except for the tips which are pointed. The spores are produced in a cone. The internal anatomy suggests a mixture of adaptations to both dry and wet conditions whilst the distinct transport system is well development. Air canals are typical of a waterlogged plant whilst the sunken stomata, reduced leaves and well developed cuticle is more an adaptation to a xeromorphic condition.

 


 


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