Equisetum hyemale

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This native perennial grows up to 6 feet tall often growing in dense stands (B). The evergreen, usually unbranched, ridged stems in which photosynthesis occurs, are hollow and jointed (A). At the joints vestigial leaves develop consisting only of a whorl of papery, black, toothed scales (C). On older stems, scales are often absent leaving an ashy gray area bordered above and below by a black ring. From April to October, spore-bearing cones up to 1 inch long with a sharply pointed tip develop at the top of young stems (D).

Horsetails contain large amounts of silica and were used by pioneers for scouring pots and pans. Other common names include Jointgrass, Snakeweed, Toadpipe and Gun-Bright.


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