One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A nonflowering plant with a hollow jointed stem that bears whorls of narrow leaves, producing spores in cones at the tips of the shoots.
Genus Equisetum, the only surviving genus of the family Equisetaceae and class Sphenopsida, division Pteridophyta
- ‘Equisetum are known as horsetails, foxtails, or scouring rushes - this last name is derived from the fact that Equisetum stores granules of silica within its cells, making it an effective tool for scrubbing pots and polishing wood.’
- ‘During the Carboniferous the climate was hot and humid, and there were extensive swampy forests dominated by giant tree ferns and conifers, club mosses, and horsetails.’
- ‘The only lineage that has survived is the horsetails, which are herbaceous and share characters with their extinct progenitors such as articulate stems with microphylls arranged in whorls.’
- ‘Seed-producing plants are probably the most familiar plants to most people, unlike mosses, liverworts, horsetails, and most other seedless plants which are overlooked because of their size or inconspicuous appearance.’
- ‘By the end of the Devonian, ferns, horsetails and seed plants had also appeared, producing the first trees and the first forests.’
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