Common name: Horsetail
Equisetum hyemale is a common nuisance weed. Its Latin name Equisetum derives from equus ('horse') + seta ('bristle'), and it has been surviving since the time of the dinosaurs. Like the heathers, horsetails thrive in well-drained, acidic, sandy soils and full sun. Unlike heathers, the common horsetail (E. arvense) reproduces by spores and can readily re-grow from small fragments of its thin root-like rhizomes. Unfortunately, as many gardeners know, this makes them almost impossible to eradicate once they get a foothold. The silica in their stems made them useful pot scourers for campers. They are used to sand reeds of oboes and clarinets.
Horsetails have been used medicinally since ancient times, especially as a diuretic. Its young stems were part of the First Nations' diet.