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Horsetails - Plants Slideshow

Examples of species from the protist kingdom Can you have a forest of horsetails? Sure. We found this small population near a freshwater lake in California. Horsetails and ferns were the first plants to develop vascular systems to transport nutrients and water. This system of tubes allowed horsetails and ferns to reach very tall heights. The forest we were talking about was only a few feet tall. Extinct species of horsetail forests could reach 70 feet tall. Those were the good old days for horsetails. There are only about 15 living species today.

Beyond being vascular plants, there are some other interesting traits of horsetails. They don't have traditional leaves. You can see a close-up of needle-like leaves radiating from a whorl (location where leaves branch out). Instead of seeds, they reproduce using spores. The spores of some species develop into rhizomes that are buried deep underground and grow new stalks every year. Horsetails are very sturdy plants and even some cannot be killed with traditional pesticides.

Image Credit: Andrew Rader Studios

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