Horsetail (Equisetum) – 2011

Horsetails are considered a ‘living fossil’ as records of relatives have been found from 100 million years ago, though they were more tree-like then.  Our horsetails like moist, acid soil and can be a real pain if found in the vegetable garden.  It took us some years to get rid of it by digging out the rhizomes.

Horsetails in the Park

Horsetails in the Park

Around here they can grow to almost 3 feet (91 cm) tall but have been known to get up to 5 feet (1.5 metres) tall. Young horsetails can be eaten though we have never done so (you should do some research if you are planning on it) but ironically they are supposed to be poisonous to horses.  As they mature the stems get covered with silica and have been used for pot scrubbers, polishing and sandpaper.  Another name for them is Scouring Rush.

Horsetails 2_watermarked

These horsetails were at a local waterfront park near us

A closer view

A closer view