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Equisetum: anyone id species?  RSS feed

 
Philip Sexton
Posts: 4
Location: Rosenberg, TX
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These are growing in dense patches on drainage ditch banks. I'm south of Houston, zone 8b. What are they'll?
IMG_20130929_123029.jpg
[Thumbnail for IMG_20130929_123029.jpg]
 
Jennifer Wadsworth
Posts: 2679
Location: Phoenix, AZ (9b)
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Looks like a type of snake grass. We used to have hours of fun making jewelry out of these as kids because you can pull them apart in sections or make circles out of them for bracelets and necklaces.
 
Denis Huel
Posts: 91
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It is a species of horsetail, Equisetum, I'm not sure which one. Equisetum's are a primitive group of plants which reproduce by spores and not seeds.
 
Philip Sexton
Posts: 4
Location: Rosenberg, TX
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Thanks! I will collect some for a damp area of my yard. It will probably play nice with my other plantings. Very interesting looking.
 
Patrick Mann
Posts: 303
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
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Watch out though, these are invasive in some parts of the country. Hard to get rid of once established.
 
Philip Sexton
Posts: 4
Location: Rosenberg, TX
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Patrick Mann wrote:Watch out though, these are invasive in some parts of the country. Hard to get rid of once established.


Thanks, Patrick. Kinda of counting on it. I love the word "invasive." Doesn't look like the rabbits will/should eat them, will see what the hens think about them. There are two places around the house that are perfect for these. Even if all I get is biomass, thats cool. I just like looking at them.
 
Leila Rich
steward
Posts: 3999
Location: Wellington, New Zealand. Temperate, coastal, sandy, windy,
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If it's Equisetum arvense, it's used in biodynamics.
Apparently all other species are toxic...
Maybe someone who knows their equisetum will pop by, but I'd be wary of planting something poisonous.
I've changed the subject line too
 
Stewart Lundy
Posts: 77
Location: Eastern Shore of Virginia, USA, Zone 7b, KeB Bojac Sandy Loam
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Leila Rich wrote:If it's Equisetum arvense, it's used in biodynamics.


Many varieties of each plant is used for preps. The entire point is to use the best variety -- often locally adapted varieties will prove superior to the European varieties. For example, Feldspar is used as a substitute for Quartz Silica in the BD501. Feel free to experiment. It is not a dogma.
 
Bob Dobbs
Posts: 145
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Will try a species ID in a little while when I get some coffee and food in me.
 
Noel Deering
Posts: 35
Location: NW Iowa, zone 5a
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According to Jacke and Toensmeier's Edible Forest Gardens, the entire genus accumulates Ca, Co, Fe, Mg, and Si.

Great pheasant cover too, for these bitterly cold days.
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 169
Location: West Midlands UK (zone 8b)
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I have a feeling the species without side branches are aquatic/marsh specialists. Or possibly your photo shows "flowering" shoots only? Were there others with sidebranches? i tried to bring some home from my pond and failed, and ended up buying from an aquatic nursery a similar species. Could be fluviatile or japonicum.

The only thing that could eat horsetail was the dinosaurs. It is a great plant to tell kids about. The sight of it however will reduce most allotment holders to tears. When it invaded my garden (coming under a 6' privet hedge and a concrete path)I was terrified, then just kept pulling the stems - pop - it doesn't cast much shade, after all, and it brings up nutrients from deep down. Its unpalatability makes its toxicity less of a problem, though I think there have been cases of poisoning of horses when it is in hay.
 
Doc Jones
Posts: 33
Location: Buhl, Idaho
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Philip Sexton wrote:
Patrick Mann wrote:Watch out though, these are invasive in some parts of the country. Hard to get rid of once established.


Thanks, Patrick. Kinda of counting on it. I love the word "invasive." Doesn't look like the rabbits will/should eat them, will see what the hens think about them. There are two places around the house that are perfect for these. Even if all I get is biomass, thats cool. I just like looking at them.


Phillip,

Equisetum is one of my favorite plants to look at as well...nothing like reminiscing about the carboniferous period and missing our old friends the trilobites. Still, I'd strongly advise that you enjoy looking at them where they are and not bring them to your property. They can be a serious problem. I love weeds and make my living as an herbalist from "pernicious pest" plants I intentionally have growing all over on my place (over 90 species and counting!). Equisetum is not one that I would ever bring home...word to the wise. Because of their primitive biology, they don't respond to the normal control measures you'll try to employ to manage them.

On another note, if you're using these for medicinal purposes don't gather them on a ditch bank or anywhere else near an agricultural field. They are professional nitrate accumulators and can be toxic. In fact, I don't recommend harvesting Equisetum anywhere that it's looking really happy in a thick and vigorous stand...too many nitrates in that dirt.

Doc

 
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