Monday, 14 May 2012


An almost-botanical watercolour painting of a horsetail fern. Equisetas arvense, if you like. Not altogether accurate but the colour is pretty good. Fellow paint-nerds will appreciate that it is made of a pyrrol red, ultramrine and New Gamboge, with a phthalo green and a nameless alizarin crimson from the depths of the paintbox for the purple-blacks. And a spot of chrome oxide green on top of the black in the cracks on the sporangium on the left where the spores show through a little. 

 A nice plant, I think, with its interesting life cycle and many-tailed sperm and all, but gardening types have been telling me off for liking it as they think it shreds their mowers with its silicon walls and interferes with their begonias and whatnot.

Some more pictures of the plant, for no reason but that I like them:

Letting down a candy-floss beard of spores.

a section through the stem at one of the nodes

The flowerish structure on the sporangiophore...

turns out to be made out of springs. It's all about the spiral, is the horsetail.

and the lovely spores with their marvellous elaters.

some dry ones

some underwater

I got some germination into these gametophytes by forgetting to throw out the water I'd been keeping my stems in. Haven't managed to get anything much bigger yet as the bacteria keep scoffing them.

Some in their natural habitat

and a friend from way back wandering about amongst them.

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