Saturday, June 15, 2013

Random Photo: Smooth Horsetails

The Smooth Horsetails or Smooth Scouring Rush (Equisetum laevigatum) are starting to grow along the Cannonball Bike Path. Equisetum are the one plant found on every continent except Antarctica, and fossils have been found from millions of years ago.

Unlike the Common Horsetail (posted here), this variety of reed-like perennial will be 16-32 inches tall by end of summer. They are most common in seasonably dry prairies and sandy, barren areas like those along roadsides and embankments. 

They will also be tipped by smooth yellowish-brown cones by August (this photo taken Aug 2012). In colonial and frontier times, these plants were used for cleaning metal utensils and wood--hence its common name.


Vanessa V Kilmer said...

Those are cool and odd looking plants.

Heather said...

Vanessa: Aren't they just? I love seeing them along the bike path, or Arboretum trails.