Photo by Melody

PlantFiles: Field Horsetail, Common Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Western Horsetail
Equisetum arvense

Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum (ek-wis-SEE-tum) (Info)
Species: arvense (ar-VEN-see) (Info)

Synonym:Equisetum arvense var. alpestre
Synonym:Equisetum arvense var. boreale
Synonym:Equisetum arvense var. campestre
Synonym:Equisetum arvense var. riparium
Synonym:Equisetum calderi

6 members have or want this plant for trade.

Ponds and Aquatics

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)
18-24 in. (45-60 cm)

6-9 in. (15-22 cm)
9-12 in. (22-30 cm)

USDA Zone 3a: to -39.9 C (-40 F)
USDA Zone 3b: to -37.2 C (-35 F)
USDA Zone 4a: to -34.4 C (-30 F)
USDA Zone 4b: to -31.6 C (-25 F)
USDA Zone 5a: to -28.8 C (-20 F)
USDA Zone 5b: to -26.1 C (-15 F)
USDA Zone 6a: to -23.3 C (-10 F)
USDA Zone 6b: to -20.5 C (-5 F)
USDA Zone 7a: to -17.7 C (0 F)
USDA Zone 7b: to -14.9 C (5 F)
USDA Zone 8a: to -12.2 C (10 F)
USDA Zone 8b: to -9.4 C (15 F)
USDA Zone 9a: to -6.6 C (20 F)
USDA Zone 9b: to -3.8 C (25 F)
USDA Zone 10a: to -1.1 C (30 F)
USDA Zone 10b: to 1.7 C (35 F)
USDA Zone 11: above 4.5 C (40 F)

Sun Exposure:
Full Sun

Seed is poisonous if ingested
Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested
All parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:

Bloom Time:

Grown for foliage

Other details:
May be a noxious weed or invasive
Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings
Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Soil pH requirements:
6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)
6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)
7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Propagation Methods:
By dividing rhizomes, tubers, corms or bulbs (including offsets)
From spores

Seed Collecting:
N/A: plant does not set seed, flowers are sterile, or plants will not come true from seed

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There are a total of 13 photos.
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1 positive
1 neutral
4 negatives

Gardeners' Notes:

Positive bonnietoney On Nov 9, 2012, bonnietoney from Plant City, FL wrote:

If you do an internet search, you will see the positive medicinal uses for horsetail and make lemonade out of your lemons. :-)

Negative kateyd On Jun 8, 2010, kateyd from Traverse City, MI wrote:

What a nuisance! Is it "invasive" in MI? I read somewhere that making the soil more basic with lime will help get rid of it.

Negative anemone73 On May 10, 2010, anemone73 from upton, QC (Zone 4b) wrote:

I'm going's growing all over the place

I'm afraid it's there for years to come....

Negative northgrass On May 27, 2007, northgrass from West Chazy, NY (Zone 4b) wrote:

I have to rate this plant one of the worst weed to infest part of my garden. It definitely spreads by roots and by seeds; it is growing in my lawn and through my hostas and ferns. I have put a barrier between my long garden edge and I am keeping an eye on it. Tried Round-up but does not seem to impede its growth in any way. As mentioned before, pulling it out is futile as it sprouts more stems. Anyone knows how to deal with this plant?

Neutral Cretaceous On Mar 25, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Native to Europe, Asia, Canada, and the USA (all states except Hawaii, Florida, and Louisiana). Hard to find in nurseries.

Negative Weezingreens On Jul 21, 2005, Weezingreens from Seward, AK (Zone 3b) wrote:

As a gardener, this plant has been a stubborn and unwelcome visitor in my garden beds. The roots go deep into the soil, spreading new shoots periodically. It is very hard to eradicate. If broken off at ground surface, it tends to come back up with more stems than before. However, growing at the base of a tree or the edge of the woods, it is quite beautiful most of the summer.

In the spring, E. arvense first grows as a single, tan stem with a swollen, spore-bearing tip. The green branches appear later. In both stages, the stem is jointed and can be pulled apart and rejoined. Mature plants can be used for scouring cook pots when camping.


This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Seward, Alaska
Sedona, Arizona
Ceres, California
Chicago, Illinois
Oakland, Maryland
Bridgewater, Massachusetts
Southfield, Michigan
Traverse City, Michigan
Farmington, New Hampshire

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