Sonoran Desert Naturalist >>> Field Guide >>> Sonoran Desert Flora >>> Equisetaceae >>> Equisetum hyemale

Horse Tail
Common Scouring Rush

Equisetum hyemale

photo © by Michael Plagens

Photographed at Mesquite Wash, Maricopa Co., Arizona. April 2008.

PERENNIAL: Upright, unbranched stems rising to a height of maybe one meter. The stems are hollow and can be pulled apart at the joints. A number of stems may grow together in a clump.<

LEAVES: Leaves are reduced to scale-like sheaths around the stems at each joint.

RANGE: Found throughout North America, but in the Sonoran Desert it is rare occurring only in very mesic habitats as at shady, perennial springs.

FRUIT: Technically no fruit. Spores are borne in cones at tips of reproductive shoots.

FLOWERS: None. This ancient lineage of plants precedes flowering plants. Instead horse tails reproduce via spores.


Equisetaceae -- Horsetail Family

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Copyright Michael J. Plagens, 1999-2009