All images on this website have been taken in Leicestershire and Rutland by NatureSpot members. We welcome new contributions - just register and use the Submit Records form to post your photos. Click on any image below to visit the species page. The RED / AMBER / GREEN dots indicate how easy it is to identify the species - see our Identification Difficulty page for more information. A coloured rating followed by an exclamation mark denotes that different ID difficulties apply to either males and females or to the larvae - see the species page for more detail.
Ferns & Horsetails
Horsetails are the relicts of an ancient family that once included tree-sized species, the fossils of which formed huge coal deposits.
Underground rhizomes produce numerous aerial stems; the stems and branches appear jointed and there is a ring of sheaths modified from leaves at each node. The size of the hollows inside a stem, the appearance of the sheaths and the number of stem ridges/sheaths are all used in identification. Cut through a stem-internode with your thumbnail to check and photograph the arrangement of hollows in the cross-section.
The spores are borne on cones at the top of the stems - sometimes on a separate brown or whitish stem.