Sunday, May 25, 2008

Scouring Rush

Our foremothers used this to scrub their pots and pans, giving field horsetail this name. In this photograph, taken behind my garage on Saturday, you see the brown fertile stem and the green sterile stem. In an earlier post I identified the green sterile stem as ground pine. I first saw these stems growing behind the garage when the guys were replacing my well pump. They put the old pump and pressure tank in my junk pile there. That is when I had my first inkling that my ground pine was horsetail because I knew that horsetail came in two versions.

This was confirmed by Heather Irvine (our guide and a former student at the Northeast School of Botanical Medicine in Ithaca, NY and current student at the Vermont Center for Integrative Herbalism) on a Wild Edibles Walk at the North Branch Nature Center in Montpelier when it was pointed out to us. This plant is not featured in either of my wildflower books (Wildflowers of Vermont and National Audubon Society Field Guide to Wildflowers Eastern Region). For more information go here and here.

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  1. Good old Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale). It can be beautiful but tough to get rid of.

  2. I never saw it growing before. Nice photograph.

  3. Horsetails! It grows here too, but I see by the map on your blog that you are just a little south of Quebec. My goodness!! You live further NORTH than I do! ;-)

    Interesting photo of the Equisetum. I often see it in my local forests, but I'm not sure if it's exactly the same as the horsetail in your photo. I'll pay better attention next time I see it.


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