The use of the scanning electron microscope to survey the surface relief of Equisetum reveals with clarity the existence of hitherto little known fine surface features. These patterns of sculpturing are characteristic and distinct from species to species, and form a valuable basis on which to construct taxonomic and phylogenetic ideas independently of the features of habit and gross morphology used currently but known to be highly variable. A new taxonomic layout for the species of subgenus Equisetum is suggested on this evidence, and the interrelationships and evolution of the species concerned are considered.
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