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Block 7 April 2009. Phylum Sphenophyta (Horsetails). Jennifer Baldwin – Product Representative Lauren Cox – Text Research and Development Danielle David – Image Research and Development Liz Fredrickson – Technical Support. Phylum Sphenophyta. Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era

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phylum sphenophyta horsetails

Block 7

April 2009

Phylum Sphenophyta(Horsetails)

Jennifer Baldwin – Product Representative

Lauren Cox – Text Research and Development

Danielle David – Image Research and Development

Liz Fredrickson – Technical Support

phylum sphenophyta
Phylum Sphenophyta
  • Carboniferous Period of the Paleozoic Era
  • Genus name is Equisetum.
  • Found in swamp forests (coal-forming) and low land areas without standing water.
  • Microhabitat: Most prefer moist habitats but some are found in dry habitats.
long term changes
Long-Term Changes
  • Structure: Body plan has not changed much over the past 300 million years.
  • Reproduction: Alternation of Generations. Spores are produced and they form cones on the fertile stem. Then they germinate forming plants
  • Antheridia and Archegonia produce sperm and eggs on the plant.
  • The fertilization of the egg and its subsequent development produces the horsetail plant (the asexual generation.)
  • Sperm reaches the eggs using water droplets.
  • The few species that live in dry climates, reproduce sexually during brief periods of heavy rain.
  • Considered amphibians of plant community because they haven’t fully escaped the aquatic habitats of their ancestors.
  • Sporophyte doesn’t remain attached to gametophyte.
  • Sporophytes has true vascular tissues and is the larger, longer lived phase of the life cycle.
  • Moist Environments
  • Damp roadsides
  • Stream bank mud
  • Vacant lots
  • Other disrupted habitats
  • 15 known species of Sphenophyta
  • 10 species found in Canada
  • 6 species are transcontinental (but do NOT occur in the high arctic)
  • May be considered weeds
benefits to humans
Benefits to Humans
  • Humans use the silica-encrusted stems of these species for cleaning and sanding.
  • Also used to hone woodwind reeds.
  • Common horsetail has been reported poisonous to livestock in Canada
  • plant. ( 2009). In Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved April  6,  2009, from Encyclopædia Britannica Online:
  • Biology Textbook