While doing gold panning in the outdoors, how is it possible to use indicator plants to assist me with finding gold along water courses?

A simple definition of an indicator plant can be found here.

In particular I would like to know how I could possibly use horsetail to assist those doing gold panning?

Horsetail is used as an indicator for wet and poor drained sites and is often found in sandy soils.

Some sites claim that horsetail can and has been used as an indicator plant to aid one in finding gold!

My question is this: How can one know the differences between what makes a site possibly gold bearing over one that is simply wet, poorly drained and/or sandy, while using horsetail as an indicator plant?

Note: I will put in better sources (I hope) in an actual question on main, if this question is deemed on topic.

  • 1
    This is interesting! I like saying that as people come up with fun new things for the site! I just have one little thing. When I looked at the references, they call them "indicator plants" rather than "plant indicators." It actually makes more sense in terms of what the plants do. I've taken the liberty of re-wording your question so the text matches the references, and so people coming by would see exactly what you meant. I apologize for being presumptuous. Please rollback and let me know if I've overstepped!! Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 2:12
  • @Sue I am good with your edit. To be honest, I considered this aspect as I was writing the question. Thanks.
    – Ken Graham
    Commented Feb 7, 2017 at 2:18

2 Answers 2


That feels very much on topic - sure, it is also likely to be on topic over on gardening, but as indicator plants are the sort of thing you will see while outdoors, let's have it here.


I say post it, looks good to me.

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