Saturday, April 14, 2012
A Really Nice Present
Horsetails will send up both fertile and sterile fronds from their root systems. The sterile fronds have branches which are miniature versions of the main stem and are segmented in a way that vaguely resembles bamboo. To the original namers, they resembled horse's tails. Pictured above is a fertile front with the biggest sporangium I've ever seen. The squares on the graph paper are 1/2". Within seconds of taking the top photo, I noticed a "puddle" of blueish green underneath. I moved the plant aside to reveal a pile of tiny spores, each one of which contains the "information" needed to grow more Horsetails. The stems of these plants have such a high silica content they can function like sandpaper. They can come in handy for cleaning pots used to cook over a campfire. In this context they are often known as Scouring Rush.