Gateshead, Tyne and Wear: This ancient, tenacious plant has already weathered three mass extinctions

Every April, rocket-shaped, yellow, nine-inch reproductive shoots of field horsetail (Equisetum arvense), tipped with small cones, erupt through this patch of waste ground beside Mill Road car park on the bank of the river Tyne. They’ll soon wither, after they’ve released their payload of spores. Then forests of green, corrugated stems and whorls of thread-like leaves, shaped like miniature Christmas trees, will rise from their creeping underground stems.

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Read More Country diary: field horsetail shoots rise and prepare to swish

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