Ancient Plants of Great Power (Generation)

Photo #313: HorsetailLocation Taken: Frankfort, Michigan
Time Taken: June 2012

I love horsetails. They’re such interestingly spiky plants, found mostly in sandy spots by water. There’s none by my house in Maryland (the soil tends towards clay here), but there’s a lot near my Grandparent’s place in Michigan, in sand dune country.

They’re a primitive looking plant, quite different from most of the plants around them. They’re one of the “living fossils”, a category of plants and animals that are pretty much identical to ones found in the fossil record, and in the horsetail’s case, they were actually far more common back a few hundred million years ago, before these newfangled “leaf” things came along.

In certain fossil eras, like the Carboniferous, horsetails are EVERYWHERE. That’s the era that produced much of our coal deposits, by the way, since the geography of the time favored large wet swamps and marshes, which just pack that organic material into perfect coal, once it sits around for long enough. So I guess that means there’s a pretty good chance your house is being heated by ancient horsetails right now!


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