From ScienceDaily (May 5, 2011),we learn more about “if it ain’t broke, don’t …” Horsetail grass decidedly ain’t broke: “Horsetail Plant Developed Successful Set of Tools for Extreme Environments – For Millions of Years”
The authors discovered that in many ways the morphology and anatomy of this fossilized Equisetum is indistinguishable from those of species living today in two subgenera, Equisetum and Hippochaete. For example, it was evergreen, grew upright in a single straight stem, and had a double endodermis. Yet, there were some features that did not fit with any extant or fossil species of Equisetum — thus justifying the erection of a new species: Equisetum thermale.”Equisetum thermale appears to be the oldest record of the genus Equisetum and at the very least, records that anatomically, essentially modern Equisetum-like horsetails have a history extending back to the Late Jurassic,” said Channing. Indeed, these findings support the idea that Equisetum is an extremely ancient genus that has undergone little evolutionary innovation over the last 150 million years.
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