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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.
..... Click the link for more information. ) similar to that of the ferns; in some horsetails, special nongreen shoots have at their tops strobili (see conecone
, 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.
..... Click the link for more information. ) 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.
..... Click the link for more information. , class Equisetopsida, order Equisetales, family Equisetaceae.
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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.
Edible Plant Guide © 2012 Markus Rothkranz
The common name for plants of the genus Equisetum composing the order Equisetales. Also known as scouring rush.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005