Equisetum arvense, the field horsetail, common horsetail or Mare’s tail is a herbaceous perennial plant, native throughout the arctic and temperate regions of the northern hemisphere.

It has separate sterile non-reproductive and fertile spore-bearing stems, growing from a perennial underground rhizomatous stem system. The fertile stems are produced in early spring and are non-photosynthetic, while the green sterile stems start to grow after the fertile stems have wilted, and persist through the summer until the first autumn frosts.
The sterile stems are 10–90 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with jointed segments around 2–5 cm long with whorls of side shoots at the segment joints; the side shoots have a diameter of about 1 mm. Some stems can have as many as 20 segments. The fertile stems are succulent-textured, off-white, 10–25 cm tall and 3–5 mm diameter, with 4–8 whorls of brown scale leaves, and an apical brown spore cone 10–40 mm long and 4–9 mm broad.
It has a very high diploid number of 216 (108 pairs of chromosomes).
The specific name arvense is derived from the Latin arvensis, meaning “from the meadow, field or grassland.”
(From Wikipedia on 25.6.14) 



Lahaul valley from Himachal: 2nd May 2010; ID Balanophora sp. – efloraofindia | Google Groups


Equisetum arvense L. SN June 10 : 1 post by 1 author. Attachments (3).
Equisetum arvense L, wild horsetail,
Pteridophyte from Coonor, Nilgiri, Tamilnadu  at an altitude of 1500m, 



Balanophora involucrata Hook.f. & Thomson : 3 posts by 2 authors. Attachments (2 + 2)
Please find attached files.
Balanophora involucrata
Hook.f. & Thomson
Location: Spiti valley, Lahaul Spiti, Himachal Pradesh, India
Altitude: 3515m (sml)
Lat Long: 32°18’4.38″N, 77°25’10.94″
Habitat: Found parasitic to Rhododendron campanulatum roots.

Never seen a photograph.  Thanks for sharing.

While inserting images of Balanophora species in eFI I found these two images mentioned as B.involucrata. To me these requires rethinking of ID. These resembles to Equisetum arvense cones (strobilus), a species known at this altitude in the Himalaya. Please see
My opinion is also based on the second picture in which some green young shoots of Equisetum are emerging from the soil just at the base of right cone bearing stems. Please see attached image.

In link mistakenly identified as Balanophora involucrata, I thank … for finding the error. Yes, this is Equisetum arvense.

even the brown things are reminiscent of horsetail shoots after flowering// in drying conditions   in addition to the young shoots emerging that … pointed out. Thanks …

not this sp. but the horsetail is a popular garden plant in sw usa

flowering tops become very common sites all over the neighborhoods…
called flowers of horsetail..strobilus … 




Equisetum arvense submission : 7 posts by 5 authors. Attachments (6)

Equisetum arvense 
Field Horsetail
Family – Equisetaceae
Habitat – In nearly dry agriculture Pea fields. 
Photographed in Thachi Valley, Mandi District, Himachal Pradesh
Altitude – 2800 metres asl
Dated – 15 April 2019

well done photography. of even spars growth. i like it a lot  

Yes, that’s right – typical achlorophyllous fertile shoots and you can see the single sheath-ridges of arvense rather than E. diffusum.  Those two species are closely related and arvense seems to be an adaptation of the aggregate to northern climates. They may well be best treated as subspecies. 


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