Nov. 15, 2021

common horsetail, Equisetum arvense

These are fertile heads of common horsetail. Unlike our other horsetails, these appear on shoots that aren't green and don't photosynthesize. Shortly after this early stage green branching shoots will pop up. This is the only species of horsetail that is not poisonous to humans, and even this one can produce toxic compounds if growing in contaminated soil. And it will grow almost anywhere that is not too damp. It's most important role is moving into disturbed or spoiled sites to begin reclaiming them for nature. The budding shoots have been a desperation food, but are not regularly eaten. Common horsetail grows in every state except FL, HI, and LA, in all of Canada, and on GL and SPM. Summit Co CO, 6/17/13. Horsetail family, Equisetaceae.