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Equisetum palustre
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Marsh Horsetail
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Equisetum palustre
  

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About Marsh Horsetail (Equisetum palustre) Equisetum palustre, the marsh horsetail or the humpback, is a plant species belonging to the division of horsetails (Equisetopsida). It is widespread in cooler regions of North America and Eurasia. Equisetum palustre is a perennial cryptophyte, growing between 10 to 50 centimeters (4" to 20"), in rare cases up to one meter (3'). Its fertile shoots, which carry ears, are evergreen and shaped like the sterile shoots. The rough, furrowed stem is one to three mm in diameter with usually eight to ten ribs, in rare cases, four to 12. It contains whorled branches. The tight-fitting sheaths end in four to 12 teeth. The lower sheaths are dark brown and much shorter than the sheaths of the main shoot. The central and vallecular canals are about the same size, but the carinal channels are much smaller. The central channels measure about one sixth of the diameter of the stem. The spores are spread by the wind (anemochory) and have four long ribbon-like structures attached to them. They sit on strobili which are rounded on the top. Marsh Horsetails often form subterranean runners and tubers, with which they also can proliferate vegetatively. Ecology. Equisetum palustre is green from spring to autumn and grows spores from June to September. It grows primarily in nutrient-rich wet meadows. It is found in Europe and the circumpolar region up to mountainous heights. Its distribution is declining. A specific plant association in which E. palustre is found is the Juncus subnodulosus-Cirsium palustre fen-meadow. Toxicity. Equisetum palustre is poisonous to herbivorous animals, but not to humans. It contains a vitamin B1-destroying enzyme which can lead to severe lack of coordination in horses, and the piperidine alkaloid palustrine, which leads to lameness in cattle. Both substances are stable for years.
Plant Description
Plant Type
Fern

Dormancy
Evergreen

Native Status
Natural Setting
Elevation ?
33' - 5129'

Annual Precip. ?
22.9" - 23.7"

Summer Precip. ?
0.35" - 1.79"

Coldest Month ?
42.8° F - 50.7° F

Hottest Month ?
62.3° F - 68.9° F

Humidity ?
1.39 vpd - 20.99 vpd

Landscaping Information
Common uses
Bogs and Ponds

Nursery Availability
Never or Almost Never Available


Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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