Common Horsetail – Equisetum arvense

Equisetum arvense, the field horsetail or common horsetail, is an herbaceous perennial horsetail native throughout the arctic and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere. It has separate sterile non-reproductive and fertile spore-bearing stems growing from a perennial underground rhizomatous stem system. The fertile stems are produced in early spring and are non-photosynthetic, while the green sterile stems start to grow after the fertile stems have wilted and persist through the summer until the first autumn frosts. It is sometimes confused with mare’s tail, Hippuris vulgaris.The sterile stems are 10–90 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with jointed segments around 2–5 cm long with whorls of side shoots at the segment joints; the side shoots have a diameter of about 1 mm. Some stems can have as many as 20 segments. The fertile stems are of a succulent texture, off-white, 10–25 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with 4–8 whorls of brown scale leaves and an apical brown spore cone 10–40 mm long and 4–9 mm broad. It is found in rich and moist soils, cultivable areas or near streams and is little changed from its ancestors of the Carboniferous period