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Equisetum telmateia

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About Giant Horsetail (Equisetum telmateia) Equisetum telmateia (great horsetail or northern giant horsetail) is a species of Equisetum (horsetail) with an unusual distribution, with one subspecies native to Europe, western Asia and northwest Africa, and a second subspecies native to western North America. The North American subspecies is often simply but ambiguously called "giant horsetail", but that name may just as well refer to the Latin American Equisetum giganteum and Equisetum myriochaetum. It is a herbaceous perennial plant, with separate green photosynthetic sterile stems, and pale yellowish non-photosynthetic spore-bearing fertile stems. The sterile stems, produced in late spring and dying down in late autumn, are 30-150 centimeter (rarely to 240 centimeter) tall (the tallest species of horsetail outside of tropical regions) and 1 centimeter diameter, heavily branched, with whorls of 14-40 branches, these up to 20 centimeter long, 1-2 millimeter diameter and unbranched, emerging from the axils of a ring of leafs. The fertile stems are produced in early spring before the sterile shoots, growing to 15-45 centimeter tall with an apical spore-bearing strobilus 4-10 centimeter long and 1-2 centimeter broad, and no side branches; the spores disperse in mid spring, with the fertile stems dying immediately after spore release. Occasional plants produce stems that are both fertile and photosynthetic.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
1 - 4.9 ft (0.3 - 1.5 m)

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Moist places

Shade, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-3' - 7950'

Annual Precip. ?
6.0" - 121.2"

Summer Precip. ?
0.13" - 3.59"

Coldest Month ?
27.9° F - 57.1° F

Hottest Month ?
57.6° F - 79.6° F

Humidity ?
0.01 vpd - 26.19 vpd

Landscaping Information
Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Bird Gardens

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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