Equisetum = horse + bristle


My childhood familiarity with horsetails (Equisetum spp.) did not prepare me for their use as a landscaping plant.

To me, they were in the weed category, albeit in the interesting weed subcategory, as opposed to the noxious, poisonous, ugly, or other unpleasant weed subcategory.

I remember picking stems and pulling the sections apart and marveling at the open tubes.

I still retain a bit of amazement that they are used as a decorative garden plant, even after encountering them carefully husbanded in a flowerbed over two decades ago.

And, I spoke just in time the other day about the unfrosted tomatoes; they’re now reduced to plant-mush.

One comment

  1. pooh says:

    My mom, a docent at the Mathai Botanical Garden (UMich), always tells her young visitors that horsetails “were around when the dinosaurs were alive!” Their cousins, the scouring rushes, were used by pioneers to clean pots — a vegetal steel wool.