Jan. 13, 2018

variegated horsetail, Equisetum variegatum

Long ago, horsetails were a dominate plant on earth. The came before our modern wildflowers. In a sense, they still do. In disturbed areas with poor nutrients they are one of the first pioneers. The spoors blow in, grow, die, and begin a cycle of life that leads to the return of flowering plants. That's what has happened in the southwest part of Ives Fen Preserve. There was a gravel pit there. In the lowest, dampest part, variegated horsetail was one of the first plants to show up. It began a succession process that over the last two decades has led to ever increasing diversity. Now we even have orchids! This species grows around the world, here growing in AK, CO, CT, ID, IL, IN(E), MA, ME(S), MI, MN, MT, ND, NH, NJ(E), NY, OH(T), OR, PA(E), SD, UT, VT, WA, WI, WY, in all of Canada, in GL, and on SPM. Ives Fen Preserve, Lenawee Co MI, 6/29/17.