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Springtime Invasion

Not aliens, but time travellers

Equisetum telmateia, photo by kc dyer, April 15, 2024

Despite appearances, Village streams are not being overtaken by asparagus-shaped aliens. These creatures are actually closer to time travellers, in the sense that their species, Equisetum telmateia, has flourished for more than 300 million years, having first appeared in the Carboniferous era.

Commonly known as the Great or Giant Horsetail, they are found growing in ditches and streams, and never to the east of the Coast Mountains. Horsetails are extremely poisonous to humans and livestock, so please enjoy this link to the distant past at a distance, and NOT as a part of your evening salad!

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Nice photo! When I used to teach Bio I would put the spores of the horsetail under the microscope and the students could watch the spores dance around on the slide. Each spore has 4 little arms that wave around when the humidity changes. This causes the spores to hop around on the slide. It is probably an adaptation to spreading the spores out a bit so they can be picked up by the wind and move away from the parent plant. I think about that demonstration in the spring when I see the spore-producing branches that show in the photo.

kc dyer
kc dyer
Apr 20
Replying to

SO cool, Val!

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