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Thursday, 11 April 2013

Wed 10th April 2013 - Fort Victoria, Yarmouth.

Our venue this week was at Fort Victoria, helping Nick the Ranger.  Once we spotted the wheelbarrows in the trailer, we knew there would be a large pile of limestone chippings somewhere, and we weren't wrong.  However, once several of us set to with shovels and wheelbarrows, the new path soon looked very smart, as you can see from the picture.  Other jobs were to put some protective plastic collars round some of the native trees we planted back in March, and then some path work to clear weeds and any trip hazards.

Carrie's Nature Lesson.

This week’s find by Durinda is a Horsetail (Equisetum Arvense).  This is a perennial plant found in or near watery areas such as marshes, streams, or rivers, and is a derivative of larger plants that grew 270 million years ago during the carboniferous period. The picture shows the first stage occurring in early spring with a fertile hollow stem resembling asparagus.  After these stems have withered and died, the second stage occurs during the summer months when thin green barren stems branch out from the plant.  It is during this stage that horsetail is gathered for medicinal use.  It has no leaves or flowers and was named for its bristly appearance, with the genus name Equisetum deriving from the Latin words equus, meaning horse, and seta, meaning bristle. Other names for horsetail include shave-grass, bottle-brush, and paddock-pipes.
The medicinal use of horsetail dates back to ancient Roman and Greek times. The Greeks used it as a wound healer, a diuretic, and an agent to stop bleeding. Nicholas Culpeper, a popular seventeenth-century herbalist, wrote of horsetail's beneficial properties in stopping bleeding and treating ulcers, kidney stones, wounds, and skin inflammation. Its reedy exterior and silica content have made it a popular metal polisher and natural abrasive cleanser, and one of its nicknames is pewterwort, so named because it was used to scour pewter. English dairy maids used it to scour their milk pails, while early Americans used it to scrub their metal pots and pans.
Thanks to Carrie for the blog this week...!

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