Equisetum sylvaticum (Woodland Horsetail)
|Also known as:||Wood Horsetail|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade; moist, shady woods and woodland edges|
|Fruiting season:||mid to late spring|
|Plant height:||10 to 28 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
The “leaves” of the horsetail are reduced to a toothed sheath that surrounds the stem. The sheath is slightly inflated in the lower half and constricted some just below the teeth. The top of the sheath is divided into 10 to 18 papery, reddish colored teeth, which are joined along the edges into 3 or 4 groups of a few teeth each.
Fertile stems are identified by the blunt-tipped, 1 to 1½ inch cone at the tip of the stem. Initially, the fertile stem is pale pink to brownish and there are no branches, but after the spores are released the stem turns green, branches develop, and the cone eventually falls off.
Woodland Horsetail is the only Equisetum species in North America with compound branching and reddish colored teeth. It spreads both by spores and vegetatively through rhizomes, and may create large colonies.
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- Woodland Horsetail plants
- a colony of mature plants
- more plants
- emerging branches
- Woodland Horsetail plants in mid-spring
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Aitkin and Ramsey counties. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Aitkin and Anoka counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?