Monday, September 21, 2009

Nature Blog!

On a walk through the blue trails I stumbled past the usual Queen Anne, the roving fern and even some lambs ear that retreated from swallowing the brown dirt path that dipped and dwindled far off into the thick. After following for about 10 minutes there appeared a bog of sorts on my right...around the bog were a variety of grasses and other furry weeds. The lack of wild animals created a quietness amongst the bright light that trickled between the tree trunks falling upon the low brush to be divided and scattered once again.
There, at my foot was an interesting, almost insect looking patch of erect stems. It looked like a gathering of if you could just drink up the swampy water that had devoured the tree trunks and decapitating brush that were decomposing into the watery abyss...bogtail anyone? It looked like reed and i picked one and tore it open on the hypothesis that it was hollow inside. It was. The faded green outer skin peeled off to reveal a fibrous and wet middle layer, streaked with white veins. The outer skin is noticeably cut into sections, divided by contrasting rounded grooves .
Horsetail- otherwise commonly known as scouring rush is classified as Equisetum arvense / EQUISETACEAE; Horsetail family. I have heard of horsetail and was aware that it was used for many herbal remedies but never had taken the time to view it in person or even in a photograph. This perennial grows in moist or sandy soils of the North American continent as well as in similar climates in Europe and Asia. I tugged another piece from the ground, this time being sure to uproot it and not just tear it from its lifeline. The roots hung in long scraggly sack-like strings. It takes its name from this creeping rootstock.
There is no other plant that contains the silica content that horsetail holds. Silica is also an important element for the body that helps connective tissues form. by aiding in the process of protein binding, horestail can help form strong hair, nails, our skin as well as bones and teeth. It has proven to be a great aid in a wholesome and youthful appearance. Collagin which acts as body glue is made from silicon. This plant is widely used as a dietary supplement and is prescribed for athletes with sprains or dislocated joints as well as people with osteoporosis. It is used topically, on wounds as well as a diuretic to treat bladder and urinary conditions. The herb has poisoned livestock and must be taken in the correct dosage by humans as a tea or in powder form...a safer alternative is to use it in the kitchen. Traditionally, scouring rush was used to scrub pots and pans! The abrasive silicates on the stems are great for "rushing" metal. In Japan rough horsetail is boiled and dried as a finish for woodcraft, giving it a smoother look than any sandpaper. Otherwise, the leaves are used as a dye.
In terms of evolution, equisetum came from the Paleozoic era and could be found as large trees reaching 30 meters. Because of this it is known as a living fossil. Today they are more modest in size, reaching up to 1.5 meters in length. This plant reproduces by spore rather than seed. It is a relative to ferns and club mosses.
The horsetail asthetically adds to any natural environment. The way it gathers in groups makes it jump out against even the most camaflouged of backgrounds.


Phil Brown said...

Noura, good for you for uprooting a horsetail and ripping it apart to describe its interior. That's the way to approach nature writing. I am assuming that bogtail is the same as horsetail. Lots of information about the plant as well. Good job.