Equisetum spp.  

Common name: Horsetail, Scouring rush

Family: Equisetaceae

Origin: U.S.

U.S. Distribution: Throughout

Height: 12- 18 in.

Foliage: Small, scalelike, whorled leaves forming sheaths at the joints with black tips

Fruiting heads: Terminal cones containing masses of spores

Habitat: Stream or road embankments, moist fields and meadows

Soil: Wet sandy or gravelly soils

Other: Poisonous to horses and cattle, causes "equisetosis". Cells contain large amounts of silica. Used in colonial times for scouring dishes and butter churns (scouring rush), also once used by cabinet makers for sanding.

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