Equisetum - Equisetaceae

Equisetum ramosissimum Desf. ssp. ramosissimum

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: P. Ballings
Zimbabwe

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

Photo: BT. Wursten
Mozambique

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

Equisetum thunbergii Wikstr.
Equisetum burchellii Vaucher

Common name

Description

Subterranean stem black, up to 6 mm in diameter, usually vertical and deeply buried, branching into horizontal stems, all rooting at the nodes and bearing aerial stems at intervals. Aerial stem hollow, up to 5 mm in diameter, longitudinally 10-20 ribbed, erect, c. 0.5-1 (2)m tall, with up to 16 thinner branches arranged in whorls at the nodes, up to 13 cm long, 1-1.5 mm in diameter. Leaves scale-like, up to 10 mm long, narrowly lanceolate with a single vein, often shiny-black with pale translucent margins, 1 per stemrib; 12-16 leaves unite for most of their length but with free black acuminate teeth up to 2 mm long and form a whorled sheath above each node. Strobili borne terminally on the main stem, oblong, 23 × 8 mm, with a blunt conical apex.

Notes

Derivation

ramosissimum: much branched, referring to the numerous whorls of branches that this fern has at each node.

Habitat

Moist areas, along perennial streams, in seasonally flooded areas and among grasses in full sun.

Distribution worldwide

Africa, Madagascan region, Macaronesia, southern and central Europe, Asia (except Malaysia), south and central America.

Distribution in Africa

Algeria, Angola, Botswana, Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Liberia, Libya, Malawi, Mauritania, Morocco and Western Sahara, Mozambique, Namibia, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan and South Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania , Tunesia, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Growth form

Lithophytic, terrestrial.

Literature

  • Burrows, J.E. (1990) Southern African Ferns and Fern Allies. Frandsen, Sandton. Pages 37 - 38. (Includes a picture).
  • Crouch, N.R., Klopper, R.R., Burrows, J.E. & Burrows, S.M. (2011) Ferns of Southern Africa, A comprehensive guide. Struik Nature. Pages 134 - 135. (Includes a picture).
  • Jacobsen, W.B.G. (1983) The Ferns and Fern Allies of Southern Africa. Butterworths, Durban and Pretoria. Pages 158 - 159. (Includes a picture).
  • Kornas, J. (1979) Distribution and ecology of the Pteridophytes in Zambia. Polska Akademia Nauk Wydzial II Nauk Biologicznych. Pages 35 - 36.
  • Roux, J.P. (2001) Conspectus of Southern African Pteridophyta. Southern African Botanical Diversity Network Report, 13 Pages 17 - 18.
  • Roux, J.P. (2009) Synopsis of the Lycopodiophyta and Pteridophyta of Africa, Madagascar and neighbouring islands. Strelitzia 23, South African National Biodiversity Institute, Pretoria. Pages 29 - 30.
  • Schelpe, E.A.C.L.E. (1970) Pteridophyta. Flora Zambesiaca, 0 Pages 32 - 34. (Includes a picture).
  • Vercourt, B. (1999) Equisetaceae. Flora of Tropical East Africa, Pages 1 - 3. (Includes a picture).
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