Equisetum arvense L. - Common Horsetail


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Equisetum arvense - (image 1 of 4)



Family: Equisetaceae


Moist to mesic. Frequent allong roadsides and railroads. Calcareous fens.




All of the U.S. and Canada except FL and LA.


Perennial with annual stems; dimorphic. Stems hollow, sheaths toothed; sterile stems branched, whorled; fertile stems smooth, succulent, brownish, unbranched.


Strobilli produced April to May

Wetland indicator: Facultative.

Very common. The stems of horsetails contain silica and were once used to clean pots and pans. Because of this they have been called "scouring rush". An ancient group of plants, horsetails are closely related to extinct, tree-like species like Calamites.


Gleason, Henry A. and A. Cronquist. 1991. Manual of Vascular Plants of Northeastern United States and Adjacent Canada. Second Ed.
The New York Botanical Garden. Bronx, NY


Swink, F. and G. Wilhelm. 1994. Plants of the Chicago Region.
Indiana Academy of Science. The Morton Arboretum. Lisle, Illinois.


USDA, NRCS. 2002. The PLANTS Database, Version 3.5 (http://plants.usda.gov).

National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.




 Michael Hough 2004