Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Equisetum: The Living Fossil Plant

Visiting my cousin where I was using the sand abrasive unit to clean fossils, I toured his plant garden and came upon this. I thought it was some sort of bamboo but he told be it is a living fossil. This plant is known as Equisetum hyemale or common names Horsetail reed or pewterwart. It was known for its high silca content making good for cleaning utensils and clean wounds.

The plant is a desendant of Calamites which are some fossils shown in this entry. These fossils were found in West Virginia. They are from the Pennsylvanian period.

The cone or sporangim is used to disperse microscopic spores.

Neat cell pattern on cone.

Imprint of a Calamites leaves.

Here is a stem pattern that can be seen in a smaller version on the Equisetum.
Here is something that was on one side of the rock that looks like a bark pattern. The rock is brown but this fossil has been treated with a glaze that makes it shine.

A brownish rock that has Calamites imprints that has been glazed.

The last two pictures are of leaf imprints.