horsetail

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horsetail,

any plant of the genus Equisetum [Lat.,=horse bristle], the single surviving genus of a large group (Equisetophyta) of primitive vascular plants. Like the ferns and club mosses, relatives of the living horsetails thrived in the Carboniferous period (when they contributed to coal deposits); the group as a whole is now considered relictual. Horsetails have whorls of small scalelike leaves around a hollow, jointed stem that is green and carries on photosynthesis. They reproduce by an alternation of generations (see reproductionreproduction,
capacity of all living systems to give rise to new systems similar to themselves. The term reproduction may refer to this power of self-duplication of a single cell or a multicellular animal or plant organism.
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) similar to that of the ferns; in some horsetails, special nongreen shoots have at their tops strobili (see conecone
or strobilus
, in botany, reproductive organ of the gymnosperms (the conifers, cycads, and ginkgoes). Like the flower in the angiosperms (flowering plants), the cone is actually a highly modified branch; unlike the flower, it does not have sepals or petals.
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) that bear the spores. Fossil evidence indicates that many extinct horsetails were treelike and attained a far greater size than do living types, although the stems of a sprawling tropical American species (E. giganteum) grows to more than 30 ft (9.1 m) in length. Other species, mostly under 3 ft (91 cm), are found in all temperate and tropical regions except New Zealand and Australia; the common types of North America and Eurasia are E. arvense in drier habitats and E. hyemale, the scouring rush, in moist and wooded areas. The latter was formerly utilized for scouring purposes and it is still included in some scouring and abrasive powders; its typical coarse texture is due to the presence of silica. Other horsetails have been used for home remedies. Horsetails are classified in the division EquisetophytaEquisetophyta
, small division of the plant kingdom consisting of the plants commonly called horsetails and scouring rushes. Equisetum, the only living genus in this division, is descended evolutionarily from tree-sized fossil plants.
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, class Equisetopsida, order Equisetales, family Equisetaceae.
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horsetail

horsetail

A strange plant that starts with having fertile off-white beige stalks with scaly fingers on top in the spring, which wither and get replaced by non-fertile green stems resembling horse tails. These plants are very high in silica, but not as absorbable as bamboo, which has 7 times more useable silica. Fresh horsetail contains and enzyme that robs the body of vitamin B, so do not take large amounts. Horsetail is used in treating urinary tract infections, prostate inflammation, very good astringent for stopping bleeding, blood coagulation (thickens blood), helps broken bones heal faster, brittle nails and hair, rheumatoid arthritis, ulcers, anemia. Boil in water for clearing skin, acne and soaking feet. Do not use if pregnant or nursing. High amounts toxic.

horsetail

[′hȯrs‚tāl]
(botany)
The common name for plants of the genus Equisetum composing the order Equisetales. Also known as scouring rush.

horsetail

any tracheophyte plant of the genus Equisetum, having jointed stems with whorls of small dark toothlike leaves and producing spores within conelike structures at the tips of the stems: phylum Sphenophyta
References in periodicals archive ?
Hauke (1969b) observed that cattle in Costa Rica appear to relish giant horsetails and one rancher believed that his cattle benefited from eating it.
The outer layer of silica on Equisetum stems may help explain why horsetails appear to be little bothered by insect feeding or fungal diseases (Hauke, 1969b; Kaufman et al.
Horsetails incorporate much silicon into their stem tissues and external ridges, knobs, and rosettes of silicon give the stems of many species their rough and abrasive character (Gifford & Foster, 1989; Hauke, 1963).
Until recently, there has been little convincing evidence of mycotrophy in Equisetum species (either in the gametophyte or the sporophyte stage) and most studies have found essentially no mycorrhizal colonization of horsetails (Read et al.
These investigators hypothesized that association of Equisetum species with nitrogen-fixing bacteria may help horsetails survive in the nitrogen-limited habitats where they frequently grow.
Horsetails are known to tolerate stressful soil environments and this ability appears to extend all the way back to the Jurassic, where Equisetum thermale inhabited a geothermal environment likely characterized by high levels of mercury, arsenic and other elements that tend to be phytotoxic (Channing et al.
The giant horsetails are of special interest within the genus Equisetum because they give the closest approximation among living plants to the large stature once attained by primeval Sphenopsids (Fig.
Giant horsetails inhabit elevations between 150 and 3000 m and their distributions tend to follow mountain ranges in the tropics (but not at the southern end of the range of E.
Although giant horsetails are of considerable botanical interest, relatively little is known about these remarkable plants beyond their taxonomy and anatomy.
The most extensively studied aspects of the giant horsetails has been their medicinal properties.
The taxonomy of the giant horsetails gives a good example of the typical means of distinguishing species and hybrids within Equisetum.
The giant horsetails are some of the least known of the 15 species in the genus Equisetum.