Sunday, April 9, 2017

North American Field Horsetail Gardens Away From Crops and Mammals


Summary: Ferns, field and giant horsetails, and mosses flourish in North American field horsetail gardens legally, toxically, trendily away from crops and mammals.


Masses of field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) sterile fronds, exhibiting the perennial's dense growth habit in moist soil, line stream bank at 8,400 feet (meters); Aspendell, Inyo County, east central California: Jane Shelby Richardson (Dcrjsr), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

North American field horsetail gardens account for one of the continent's most ancient, authentic, native, primitive ground covers, where paleobotanists age their huge, woody ancestors back 354 million to 290 million years.
Field horsetail, one of 23 species in the one Equisetaceae family genus of scouring-rush herbs, brings down crops through rhizomes and spores and mammals through toxins. Compromised crop yields and poisoned horses and sheep can call up federal, provincial, state or territorial sanctions against weeds in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Weed designations do not necessarily discriminate between natives, such as field horsetails, and non-natives, such as introduced relatives dominating the world outside Australia and Southeast Asia.
Provincial legislation in Canada and state legislation in the United States only exclude thus far native field horsetail from Quebec and native giant horsetail from Oregon.

Field horsetail, nicknamed cornfield horsetail, horsetail fern, horse pipes and mares tail, furnish no seedlings from seeds since their perennial life cycles fetch sporelings from spores.
The field herb, nicknamed paddy's pipe, pipe weed and toadpipes, grows jointed stems atop creeping, dark brown, felt-like, 3.28-foot- (1-meter-) deep, 78.74-inch- (200-centimeter-) long, tuber-bearing rhizomes. Flesh-colored, 11.81-inch- (30-centimeter-) tall, spore-shedding, spring-borne, unbranched reproductive stems have whorls of eight to 12 brown, cone-tipped, scale-like, 0.19- to 0.35-inch- (5- to 9-millimeter-) long leaves. Green, 0.79- to 39.37-inch- (2- to 100-centimeter-) tall vegetative stems include 0.59- to 2.36-inch- (1.5- to 6-centimeter-) long, 0.08- to 0.19-inch- (2- to 5-millimeter-) thick internodes.
Foliar axil angles and foliar node attachments with vegetative stems respectively juggle whorled branches and brown, scale-like, small, 12-whorled foliage in North American field horsetail gardens.

Each nodal attachment on field horsetail, nicknamed bottle-brush, knows six to eight three- to four-toothed, three- to five-sided, 3.94- to 5.91-inch- (10- to 15-centimeter-) long branches.
Vegetative stems last longer than reproductive stems from whose tops small, tube-like appendages inside 0.39- to 1.18-inch- (1- to 3-centimeter-) long cone-like structures let loose spores. Field horsetail, named foxtail rush and scouring rush commonly and Equisetum arvense (field horse-brush) scientifically, makes millions of spores in every cone-like strobulus, pluralized as strobuli. New plant production needs from field horsetail, nicknamed meadow pine, pine grass and snake grass, either reproducible, 11.18-inch- (3-centimeter-) long rhizome fragments or 48-hour viable spores.
North American field horsetail gardens offer globe-shaped, pale green to yellow, 0.16-inch- (4-millimeter-) tall spores less than 0.02 to 0.08 inches (0.5 to 2 millimeters) across.

Only damp soils promote spore germination in field horsetail, scientifically described by Råsholt-born Swedish botanist Carl Linnaeus (May 23, 1707-Jan. 10, 1778) in his Species Plantarum.
Damp ground in the least and most desirable sites quickens sporeling development from fertilized eggs from flat, green, small reproductive structures called prothalli (before young shoots). Female and male prothalli realize respective sizes of 0.16 to 0.19 inches (4 to 5 millimeters) and 0.08 to 0.12 inches (2 to 3 millimeters) across. The same conditions serve to spread 6.69- to 17.72-inch- (17- to 45-centimeter-) tall giant horsetail, field horsetail's west coast relative, over damply denuded, depleted, disturbed soils.
Ferns, field and giant horsetails, and mosses trace ancient lineages for North American field horsetail gardens tucked legally, toxically and trendily away from crops and mammals.

Equisetum arvense puts forth both fertile and sterile stems: fertile stems, along the border of a canal in northern France; April 27, 2003: F. Lamiot, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Acknowledgment
My special thanks to:
Talented artists and photographers/concerned organizations who make their fine images available on the Internet;
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University for superior on-campus and on-line resources.
Image credits:
Masses of field horsetail (Equisetum arvense) sterile fronds line stream bank at 8,400 feet (meters); Aspendell, Inyo County, east central California: Jane Shelby Richardson (Dcrjsr), CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Equisetum_arvense_streambank.jpg
Equisetum arvense puts forth both fertile and sterile stems: fertile stems, along the border of a canal in northern France; April 27, 2003: F. Lamiot, CC BY SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons @ https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Equisetum_arvense_fr.jpg

For further information:
Dickinson, Richard; and Royer, France. 2014. Weeds of North America. Chicago IL; London, England: The University of Chicago Press.
"Equisetum arvense L." Tropicos® > Name Search.
Available @ http://www.tropicos.org/Name/26602003
Linnaeus, Carl. 1753. "2. Equisetum arvense." Species Plantarum, vol. II: 1061. Holmiae [Stockholm, Sweden]: Laurentii Salvii [Laurentius Salvius].
Available via Biodiversity Heritage Library @ http://biodiversitylibrary.org/page/359082
Weakley, Alan S.; Ludwig, J. Christopher; and Townsend, John F. 2012. Flora of Virginia. Edited by Bland Crowder. Fort Worth TX: BRIT Press, Botanical Research Institute of Texas.


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