Equisetum hyemale

Scouring rush, Puzzle plant, Horsetail
EQUISETACEAE, The horsetail family

After a nice afternoon on NW 23rd, Eireann and Michael and I went for a long walk in Forest Park. We tasted mahonia berries, miner’s lettuce, red huckleberry, thimbleberry and black berry along the way, and stopped to look at lichens and horsetails.

Horsetail is one of the oldest plants around. It doesn’t have flowers but reproduces by means of spore-bearing cones. The cells have silica in them, which discourages (to put it mildly,) animals from eating them, but makes them useful to people as an abrasive for scouring pots and utensils and polishing wood. It is just extremely tough stuff. It was the first plant to grow back after the Mt. St. Helens eruption and if you get it as a weed in your garden, god help you. People like to plant it because it looks groovy and unusual, and this species is not as unruly as some. But even so, if you must grow it, do so in a container. That’s a good way to keep it anyway, so you can make the kind of swamp-like conditions it likes. I call these puzzle plant sometimes, because my sisters and I used to take the segmented stems apart and put them back together.

About Mulysa

I love my work as a landscape designer and artist. When I'm not planning homesteads or working in the studio, you'll find me hiking, photographing, gardening, baking, cooking vegetarian meals with friends, reading and working on sustainability issues...with my baby on my hip in Portland, Oregon.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Equisetum hyemale

  1. Yes, equisetum is a tough plant. Funny, you mentioned taking horsetails apart and putting them back together and calling them puzzle plants. My brother and I used to use them for logs to make old western style forts for toy cowboy and Indians. Thanks for an interesting blog.

  2. Mulysa says:

    Thanks for your comment, that is pretty cute – I can just see little forts made out of the stems.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>