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Horse-Tail Fern

Horse-Tail Fern or Pot-Scrubbing Fern

The Horse-Tail fern is one of the oldest plants around, and one of the most interesting to look at. Its second common name derives from its wide usage as a pot-scrubber by the pioneers, and close examination of the plant makes it clear why it was good for the purpose. Equisetum is a hollow reed which is hard and rubbery to the touch, and with large ridges and grooves which make it feel like it is made of very stiff corduroy. Each spike is a tower of individual segments that grow out of one another, and pull apart with a small popping sound. And since it nearly always prefers to grow near water, it was handy and easily available for pioneer women when they were washing their dishes in rivers and streams. It is now an endangered species in many places where it used to flourish, however, so watch out for this beautiful dark green plant, with the delicate black bands around the base of each segment, and treat it gently.

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Page last updated Sat Oct 1 10:04:09 CDT 2005
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