Horsetail

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Dictionary Meaning and Definition on 'Horsetail'

Horsetail Meaning and Definition from WordNet (r) 2.0
    horsetail n : perennial rushlike flowerless herbs with jointed hollow stems and narrow toothlike leaves that spread by creeping rhizomes; tend to become weedy; common in northern hemisphere; some in Africa and South America
Horsetail Meaning and Definition from Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)
    Horsetail \Horse"tail`\, n.
  1. (Bot.) A leafless plant, with hollow and rushlike stems. It is of the genus Equisetum, and is allied to the ferns. See Illust. of Equisetum.
  2. A Turkish standard, denoting rank. Note: Commanders are distinguished by the number of horsetails carried before them. Thus, the sultan has seven, the grand vizier five, and the pashas three, two, or one. Shrubby horsetail. (Bot.) See Joint-fir.

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Wikipedia Meaning and Definition on 'Horsetail'


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The horsetails are a class in the Pteridophyta (ferns). They were which one of the most important plant groups in the Palaeozoic era. They are seen in the coal measures of the Carboniferous period, and some were trees reaching up 30 metres. The group is now almost extinct, but one genus survives. They are vascular plants that reproduce by spores and not by seeds. The name horsetail arose because the branched species somewhat resemble a horse's tail.

Equisetum is the only living genus of horsetails. The name Equisetum comes from the Latin (equus = horse; and seta = bristle). The genus includes 15 species. One can find horsetails on all continents except from Australasia and Antarctica. They are perennial plants, either herbaceous, they back in winter (most temperate species) or they are evergreen (some tropical species, and the temperate species Equisetum hyemale, E. scirpoides, E. variegatum and E. ramosissimum). They mostly grow 0.2-1.5 m tall, though E. telmateia can exceptionally reach 2.5 m, and the tropical American species E. giganteum 5 m, and E. myriochaetum 8 m.

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