Friday, December 4, 2009

Equisetum hyemale

There are a fair amount of wetland plants listed on the High Line's plant list, one of which is Equisetum hyemale, or giant horsetail.

Now, at this point I have to pause to explain a bit about how I write this blog. I take my camera with me everywhere and if I see something that interests me, I take a photo of it. Most of the time I know what I'm looking at, but if I don't and I have the time, I try to identify the plant. After that I google it, trying to find some more information about the plant. If you're a regular reader, you know I have a soft spot for etymology or unusual things regarding plant morphology, lineage or ethnobotany.

I knew the plant above was Equisetum but you can imagine my excitement when the first hit on google reads as such:

Equisetum hyemale is not a rush however. Nor is it a fern. Equisetum is the single surviving genus of a class of primitive vascular plants that dates back to the ...

To the what?! Well, after reading on, I find that this species dates back to the mid-Devonian period (of course) which was about 350 million years ago. And little facts like that really make my day. (To assure you that I don't take the first google hit as gospel, know that I try to verify a fact like that on a few other reputable sites before regurgitating it on this blog.)

Equisetum is also lumped into the category of fern ally -- it means that while the plant is not a fern (another ancient primitive plant type), it is similar in that the plant doesn't flower, nor has seeds and instead reproduces with spores. Other fern allies include Lycopodium and Salaginella.


How It Grows said...

I love to learn new plant facts - thanks!

Anonymous said...

Well, having lived in Turkey for a time, it does resemble somewhat to ancient drawings and murals. For some reason I recall often seeing plants like this in very old works of art. Could it be the same. I always thought they were just salt marsh grasses. Any thoughts?

Invertir en oro said...

Wow! great blog. I know you went surfing one past New Years Day, so this is sans wet suit, san boots, gloves hat and so on. Congrats.

Buy Generic Viagra said...

I guess you have a beautiful garden, I like the same things, I love to take photos around my house and in the little forest next to my house.