Equisetum Species, Canuela, Dutch Rush, Horsetail, Rough Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Snake Grass

Equisetum hyemale

Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum (ek-wis-SEE-tum) (Info)
Species: hyemale (hy-EH-may-lee) (Info)



Ponds and Aquatics

Water Requirements:

Requires consistently moist soil; do not let dry out between waterings

Very high moisture needs; suitable for bogs and water gardens

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun


Grown for foliage



Foliage Color:

Unknown - Tell us


24-36 in. (60-90 cm)

36-48 in. (90-120 cm)


3-6 in. (7-15 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)

Where to Grow:

Grow outdoors year-round in hardiness zone


Parts of plant are poisonous if ingested

Bloom Color:


Bloom Characteristics:


Bloom Size:


Bloom Time:


Other details:

May be a noxious weed or invasive

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

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


This plant is said to grow outdoors in the following regions:

Huntsville, Alabama

Tuscaloosa, Alabama

Vincent, Alabama

Anchorage, Alaska

Huntington, Arkansas

Rogers, Arkansas

Brea, California

Corona, California

Davis, California

El Cerrito, California

Eureka, California

Fairfield, California

Menifee, California

Palm Springs, California

Rancho Cucamonga, California

San Diego, California

San Leandro, California

Stockton, California(2 reports)

Tulare, California

Upland, California

Van Nuys, California

Washington, District of Columbia

Bartow, Florida

Jacksonville, Florida(2 reports)

Ocala, Florida

Oldsmar, Florida

Pensacola, Florida(2 reports)

Venus, Florida

Wellborn, Florida

Fortson, Georgia

Tifton, Georgia

Collinsville, Illinois

Marshall, Illinois

Watseka, Illinois

Rensselaer, Indiana

Milford, Iowa

Topeka, Kansas

Falmouth, Kentucky

Hi Hat, Kentucky

Louisville, Kentucky

Taylorsville, Kentucky

Utica, Kentucky

Cole Camp, Missouri

Piedmont, Missouri

Riverside, Missouri

Dover, New Hampshire

Verona, New Jersey

Saranac Lake, New York

Woodhaven, New York

Concord, North Carolina

Raleigh, North Carolina

Cleveland, Ohio

Columbia Station, Ohio

Dayton, Ohio

Sandusky, Ohio

Springboro, Ohio

Ada, Oklahoma

Hulbert, Oklahoma

Jay, Oklahoma

Cheshire, Oregon

North Bend, Oregon

Port Orford, Oregon

Salem, Oregon

Springfield, Oregon

Downingtown, Pennsylvania

Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania

Greenwood, South Carolina(2 reports)

Hixson, Tennessee

Sweetwater, Tennessee

Arlington, Texas

Austin, Texas(2 reports)

Boerne, Texas

Brazoria, Texas

Dallas, Texas

Fort Worth, Texas

Houston, Texas(2 reports)

Kerrville, Texas

La Porte, Texas

Princeton, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Salisbury, Vermont

Leesburg, Virginia

Aberdeen, Washington

Bremerton, Washington

Elkhorn, Wisconsin

Powell, Wyoming

show all

Gardeners' Notes:


On Oct 11, 2020, careysub from Rancho Cucamonga, CA wrote:

Also negative, but then positive again.

I like the horsetails. They are fascinating ancient plants, look ancient, and are easy to grow being quite tough. Striking appearance. Excellent container plant.

But do not put them in the ground, except perhaps if you live in a true desert where escape is impossible. Everything everyone says about their invasiveness is absolutely true, and only zero contact between soil and plant can prevent an outbreak. Even if you use a sealed container and place it in the ground, once must be certain that rhizomes cannot escape over the rim, and that the container can never crack.

But horsetail invasion can be stopped dead, permanently and it really is not that difficult.

It requires three sprays of the... read more


On Jul 2, 2019, 1amore1 from San Diego, CA (Zone 10a) wrote:

I grow this in a large container and love it for the vertical accent of green. I wouldn't recommend putting this in the ground. But in the right place under the right conditions its a unique looking plant. I water it once a week when it's hot and seems to be doing great.


On Apr 13, 2018, Kathollis from Atlanta, GA wrote:

INVASIVE!! Will travel several feet under patios and volunteer on other side of yard. I love how it looks but should only be planted in concrete planter without holes.

I have to continually weed my neighbors yard. I'm so humiliated about it!


On Apr 11, 2016, ellenrogerj from north bend, OR (Zone 9a) wrote:

it's horrible. a landscaper in our area told me that the only way to get rid of this nasty agressive plant is to move. it will be here when the dinosaurs come back.


On Apr 11, 2016, Candre from Aberdeen, WA (Zone 9a) wrote:

No one plants horsetail here because it's already everywhere. Four years ago when I moved here, the local Master Gardeners told me this. They weren't exaggerating, I pull it out every day and still can't keep up.

I find it structurally fascinating and complementary with only some of my garden but regardless of my opinions, it just comes up EVERYWHERE!!! I get both the fertile and sterile stalks which are visually quite nice. Too bad it's so intrusive.


On Jan 23, 2016, JBtheExplorer from Southeast, WI wrote:

This is a fantastic native plant that looks somewhat like miniature bamboo. As other reviews have stated, this plant spreads aggressively. If it's not native to your location, I suggest not even taking the chance of buying it. Never plant it in the ground, unless you live by a natural pond where it can grow wildly. I planted mine in my bog filter, which is what filters my garden pond. The bog liner helps keep control, but it still needs to be maintained. Every spring, I pull out 3/4 of it, knowing that it will all regrow by the end of the season. I also make sure none of it escapes the bog. In my situation, it's fairly easy to control. I have never seen it spread by spores and have never had it pop up anywhere else. With all of that said, I'll still give this plant a positive rating. The p... read more


On Oct 31, 2015, coriaceous from ROSLINDALE, MA wrote:

A vicious and ineradicable weed here that spreads aggressively both by spores and by very deep underground rhizomes. It cannot be contained by root barriers. It enjoys wet soils but unfortunately it grows very well in ordinary garden conditions.

This toxic plant can kill livestock that graze on it.

It is highly resistant to herbicides, which have a hard time penetrating the waxy cuticle.

It is considered a high-priority, ecologically invasive exotic plant in South Africa, Australia, and Madagascar. Native to N. America and Eurasia.


On Aug 20, 2012, Perpignan1 from Gainesville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I just bought this plant and placed it into four pots which have no drainage holes (I don't want it to escape). I used my heavy clay soil and have been keeping it well water. The pots are literally floating in water. I thought this plant would like this, but instead they are turning brown and appear to be dying. All four pots are now looking half-dead. What can I do to save the plant? Was it that the plants reached me bare-rooted? Was it the wrong soil? (I thought this plant would want moisture-retaining soil!) Is it the extreme summer heat, sun and humidity of my Florida summer weather? Any advice will be welcome. Many thanks, Peter.


On Mar 5, 2012, renfox from Upland, CA wrote:

I obtained this plant, specifically Equisetum hyemale, after hearing about its medicinal uses. The fresh stems can be broken off and dried or eaten fresh, providing a much needed source of nutrients for tooth enamel development. I planted it in a long flower box/pot. You use a coffee grinder to make a powder of the stems and mix a tsp in half a glass of water, seven days in a row out of a thirty day stretch. I no longer have sensitive teeth to hot or cold and my teeth feel smoother so I don't think it's non-sense.


On Jul 21, 2011, Swansea from Downingtown, PA wrote:

A very nasty pernicious weed that is difficult to eliminate. I am hoping that the prolonged drought and heatwave will be a major setback to spread in my yard. The high silicone content makes it resistant to herbicides and it has a very large root system. The only plants that choke it out are grasses.


On Jul 21, 2011, MsBusyBee from Anchorage, AK wrote:

This plant is considered a weed in southcentral Alaska. It's everywhere, and every gardener I know fights an ongoing battle with it. It is not unattractive so I leave it alone in areas for which I have no other plans. When it pops up in an unwanted place, I pull it up and it usually stays gone until the next growing season.


On Jul 20, 2011, zdmj11 from Powell, WY wrote:

Sorry to disappointed the exotic plant lovers out there, but this is a very nasty invasive plant.

Anyone considering even having this on their premises should have their head examined.

If it hasn't turned you off yet, give it some time and it will.

Forty years of observing and fighting this weed on my farm have shown me that this is nothing to be messed with.

If you insist on having it, laminate a picture of it and stake the picture in your flowerbed. It'll be the best decision you ever made regarding this menace.


On Jul 19, 2011, Village_idiot from Alberta, AB (Zone 3a) wrote:

I have heard nothing good about this plant from anyone with the experience of trying to get rid of it.

I notice that in the article it has no negatives mentioned about it.

The main horizontal root can be 2-3' deep. This reason alone makes it almost impossible to rid your garden of this pernicious weed.

My advice; don't even think about planting it.

Of course, it's said to look very attractive next to Kudzu and Bishop's Gout-Weed!


On Jul 18, 2011, babakool from Tonasket, WA wrote:

When I was a child growing up in Western Washington we used the "juice" from Horsetails to help take the sting out of nettles. It either worked very well or we had wonderful imaginations. I don't ever recall anyone growing them on purpose back then.


On Jul 18, 2011, patzpenny from Corona, CA wrote:

This plant has invaded my yard from my neighbor. I too thought it was bamboo. I have a 20 ft.long raised garden bed along my fence and the plant is coming up all over the place. All we can do is keep breaking it off but we can't keep up with the growth. It is an absolute nightmare. No matter what we plant it just pushes right through and pops up all over the place. It is even starting to grow through the horizontal wood slats in the fence and will eventually destroy the fence. The neighbors take no responsibility. They have a pool and no lawn so it is contained along their fence and can't go anywhere... except next door. If anyone finds a solution, please let us know what we can do.


On Jul 18, 2011, depuy from Eureka, CA wrote:

I have grown E. hyemale in containers without a problem here. E. arvense grows wild here and is quite abundant ,it's easy to pull and although I'll never get rid of it, it is pretty and a minor nuisance . It's the buttercups and Himalayan Blackberries that are the real problem here.
All green plants will succumb to total darkness. If possible covering the Equisetum growing area in spring, as they emerge or just before, with a layer of cardboard ,then a layer of newspaper and topped with mulch for one year should "starve them" to death.
I have been growing Equisetum myriochaetum in containers , it can grow up to 24' but is more tropical in nature so ,although,it will overwinter in Humboldt County Ca.it barely recovers with our cool summers .It thrives in my greenhouse.<... read more


On Jul 18, 2011, StrawberryRose from Fairview Heights, IL wrote:

I think this plant is growing in my yard. I thought it was bamboo. Now that I've seen a picture of it I think it is this Rough Horsetail. It is thin and bamboo like but it has the same tops as in the picture. So far the plants are about 3 to 4 feet tall and slender. The area where I found it is nearly always damp. My husband says we have an underground spring in this area. We have had a lot of rain so far this year.

I want to kill it, but it sounds impossible. It is growing in the shade and spreading. I don't know where it came from. I thought birds brought it in. Any suggestions on how to kill it. Even if it is bamboo I still want to get rid of it. I have enough envasive weeds to deal with.

I notice it was reported in Collinsville, IL that is 3... read more


On Jul 18, 2011, margiedg from Great Falls, MT wrote:

We had a plant similar if not identical in the side of a cliff at the bottom of a coulee where there was a small spring. The plant was much smaller but I always thought it was interesting. This location is in Montana. There are also dinosaur bones in that area. Don't know if it would be invasive but was not, in that location.


On Jul 18, 2011, hgausbrooks from Arlington, TX wrote:

I teach college biology and the Toxicodendron( horsetail) is such a good example of a primitive, vascular plant. Students are amazed to think that this plant's ancestors lived when dinosaurs roamed the Earth. I always get my cuttings for illustration from the water garden landscaping at a McDonald's restaurant in Grand Prairie, Texas. It seems to do quite well through our frigid winters and our toasty summers.


On Jul 18, 2011, LeslieT from Bellaire, TX wrote:

This plant is incredibly hard to contain. Perhaps placing it in a concrete pot in a plastic pond would work. But, I've seen it escape even when surrounded by several feet of concrete on all sides. And, you will NEVER be able to to remove it. I'm told someone tried using a backhoe and still could not get rid of it. Anyone who plants this in the ground will rue the day they did because it will destroy their garden.


On Jul 18, 2011, Kohleria from Bremerton, WA wrote:

Here in Western Washington this is identified as an invasive weed. It is prodigious and impossible to get rid of once in the landscape. We go on horsetail patrol around the garden regularly to remove it. I don't know of anyone who would choose to plant it.


On Jul 18, 2011, jww from El Macero, CA wrote:

We lived in Eureka, CA for over 40 years and I fought this 'weed' for those 40+ years. Once established, you have it forever. Yes, you can pull it up but it will not go away...unless you want to dig up your entire yard. Even then I doubt it would be gone. So, a very strong container is my recommendation if you have to have it. Some of the larger varieties are quite interesting looking - just beware.


On Jul 18, 2011, florafavours from Elkhorn, WI wrote:

I loved this plant but seeing it growing in a limestone quarry should have warned me. I brought it into my garden over 30 years ago and, although very interesting in appearance, it has been impossible to kill (even strong round-up solution put in the hollow stems only eliminated that 1 stem). Average soil with average moisture is more than enough to keep it spreading.Perhaps a so9lid metal or stone pot could contain it,


On Jul 18, 2011, sllawrence from New Braunfels , TX (Zone 8b) wrote:

The key to this plant, as stated, is to keep it contained. I have Rough Horsetail in a bog garden made of a heavy, plastic pond liner surrounded by moss rocks. It gives nice height and a lovely primordial air to the garden. It is absolutely no care except to top off the bog as needed. Zero problems with spreading because it is wholly contained. Dragonfles and damselflies love it, as do green anoles (chameleon lizards). Frogs enjoy the bog and control mosquito larvae. I consider it an important addition to my garden, but I would never plant it freely into the garden (zone 8a).


On Jul 18, 2011, blossomfarm from Columbia Station, OH (Zone 5b) wrote:

Do not plant this plant....period!
The more you try to kill it ----- the more it takes over since round-up kills everything around it giving no competition. Does anyone know how to kill this devil's weed? Thank you.


On May 14, 2011, Gabrielle from (Zone 5a) wrote:

I've had this in my garden for a few years now and it seemed to be behaving, but this year it started spreading far and wide. There were starts coming up three feet from the main plant! Needless to say, it's coming out.


On Feb 27, 2011, sweetlilylin from Woodhaven, NY wrote:

I've had this plant in my garden for 3 years now, planted against my deck. It is in part sun (afternoon sun) and gets plenty of moisture. It is spreading nicely and quick as I want it to, but my complaint is, that it does not always grow up straight. And after the winter, it is lying completely horizontal to the ground. We had a bad winter of lots of snow, so I'm sure that's what happened to it. I tried to gently straighten it out, but that doesn't work so well. Should it be cut back in the spring? or will it straighten itself out on its own? Hope someone can help me out.


On Aug 25, 2009, marksgrdn from Stockton, CA (Zone 9a) wrote:

i have always wanted this plant in my garden. i decided to turn my pond into a bog garden since the racoons wiped out my koi more times than i care to think. i am using it as a background plant the length of the pond. forming a screen of sorts. they are now about 4 1/2 ft tall and are filling in slowly. the ones that have laid sideways now have a ton of smaller shoots growing up from them. thinner than its parent plant. interesting looking.


On Apr 25, 2009, rntx22 from Puyallup, WA (Zone 8b) wrote:

These plants are very attractive and a nice addition to a water garden/bog. I have it in a pot that is sunken in the pond. This has kept it contained and I have not had any problems with invasiveness this way.


On Mar 10, 2009, farrar62441 from Marshall, IL (Zone 6a) wrote:

I have read horror stories about this plant but it must just be in warmer areas.....I planted some near my little pond two years ago and it really hasn't gotten very much growth....stays in one place so far....It gets to about -10 sometimes in the winter here.....so maybe that keeps it in check. I was wondering if you are suppose to cut it back in the winter? Anyone know? I would actually like for mine to get bigger and taller.


On Nov 5, 2008, BLOSSOMBUDDY from Watseka, IL (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have rated this plant a negative due to it is toxic if consumed by humans or livestock. As well as it can be invasive.

It grows wild in my area. My land is a sand prairie sand pond environment. It is sporatic in my garden at this time, but is slowly taking foot here.

While it is an interesting specimen and quite excellent for floral arranging, I am curious as to the best way to dry the reeds to maintain their best green color for florals! Seems mine turn brown.

I have seen this "weed" take over large areas where it will not allow other plants to grow. They seem to grow on
inclines near ravens and appear to be very good at errosion control which can be a plus if nothing else will grow as well as in the "boggy" lands. But would I s... read more


On Jul 24, 2008, creekwalker from Benton County, MO (Zone 5a) wrote:

I have found this growing near one section of a nearby creek for years and while it is numerous there, it doesn't seem to be choking anything else out. I do not see it in very many places elsewhere and it doesn't seem to be a problem here. I like the way it looks too.


On Mar 18, 2008, peachespickett from Huntington, AR wrote:

Planted this near our creek in Western Arkansas. In three years has spread only a foot or two, probably due to being flooded, then being dry, then being flooded and covered by six inches of river-gravel, then being dry, and so on and so on. I find it to be a charming green spot along the creek in winter, and well-behaved so far.


On Jan 5, 2008, victorludorum from London,
United Kingdom (Zone 9a) wrote:

I wouldn't plant this in the ground, because of its reputation for invasiveness, but it looks great in a container, either in the pond or in dappled shade where it won't dry out too much. My daughter's sax teacher told me it's also known as reed rush because it is used to clean and refine saxophone or clarinet reeds. (By the way, the reeds themselves are made from Arundo donax, which also makes a very striking garden plant.)


On Aug 8, 2007, nwanettech from Rogers, AR wrote:

My horsehair rush is great. I have at the top of my pod in my wier and it has grown all summer long. My water is no more than 14 inches deep. Behind it I have some elephant ears that have pushed some reeds over to lay flat. Those limbs are now growing new sprouts upward.....it looks very nice and very natural and best of all seems very heat tolerant.
Mine is partial shade and partial sun.


On May 5, 2007, baroque from South Dayton, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

This is a great plant. I had planted it in the ground nearly five years ago not near any water and it does great. Yes, it does spread, but due to it being very thin, it does not crowd out other plants or take over. I suggest this plant for someone who wants a "primitive" or "living fossil" addition to their garden. I have gotten many compliments on this plant due to its exotic look.


On Feb 17, 2007, Cretaceous from El Sobrante, CA (Zone 9b) wrote:

Equisetum hyemale does well here in zone 9b, where it is planted against the wall of our house amoung some larger ferns. Needs to be contained, otherwise once established it will spread. Can get fairly high (6 feet +).

Native to North America, South America (El Salvador, Guatemala), Europe, and Asia.

Sometimes seen in nurseries locally.


On Feb 16, 2007, sladeofsky from Louisville, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

These plants are geat additions to the Japanese garden or to highlight ultra modern architecture. The verticle, jointed stems are reminiscent of leafless bamboo. They are very hardy and therfore perfect for year-round containers. These are showing up all around town where people want to add a little chic. These plants are great for extremely restricted areas of as little as a few inches, such as may exist between a sidewalk and a wall. If stems become damaged it may be best to prune to just above ground level. Pruning higher on the stem will joint into multiple new stems and may make your plant top-heavy. Although some people are successfully growing horsetails in water they will also grow in heavy dry soils.


On Aug 2, 2006, feyven from Salisbury, VT wrote:

I frist saw Horsetail in the San Joaquin Valley in California. I was attracted by its "prehistoric" look (and origin) and the intersting history of use as a scrubbing utensil and furnature polising.

After I moved to Vermont, I discovered a stand of it in a drainage ditch near Burlington. I dug up a small clump and planted it in my garden (in a container in the ground to prevent the invasive spread and to provide it with more moisture). Later, I found a smaller version (Dwarf Horsetail - Equisetum scirpoides) and added that to my landscape as well.

Both have "behaved" themselves and provide an interesting focal point in the garden. I get a lot of compliements on them and many questions.


On Jun 29, 2006, AL_GAConnection from Columbus, GA (Zone 8a) wrote:

Zone 8a-b...I pulled up 5 stalks from a pond area, left them in the back of the truck all night, planted them the next day in several pots to see if they would take. They were watered once a week for three weeks and babies formed! I have repotted them into a larger pot, moved them to a more shaded area to see if they will tolerate the shade before transplanting them to the ground around my Zen Garden.


On Jul 1, 2005, MotherNature4 from Bartow, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I don't find it invasive in my yard, but I don't live near a pond. I do enjoy using it in floral designs because it is possible to run a wire through the stem and bend or fold with accuracy. It may also used in natural arrangements.

I also like it because it is somewhat of an oddity, being a "fern ally," it is botanically one of the non-flowering plants.


On Aug 31, 2004, zmaj101 from Layton, UT wrote:

WARNING!!!! Saying this plant is invasive is a major inderstatement.

Feel free to plant it in a containter to your heart's desire. It actually can be quite attractive in the right setting. However, DO NOT let it get loose in your yard. The plant spreads like a weed and will take over any garden or lawn. Once it is in the ground, there is no way to control it. Horsetail spreads from a single underground rhizome. In otherwords, all the plants are connected. You cannot pull it out by the roots because they go down in the ground as far as 3 feet! The root system goes straight down and then spreads horizontally. I've seen infestations where plants as far as 50 feet apart were connected underground. Additionally, when the plant is broken (from attempting to pull it ou... read more


On Sep 2, 2003, vendla wrote:

Horse Tail grows all over near the river by my house. I have found an old pagen recipe that says that if you make a tea out of it, strain VERY WELL, and cool, you can use it as an eye wash to help cure symptoms of pink eye!


On Aug 30, 2003, Terry from Murfreesboro, TN (Zone 7a) wrote:

The common name "Scouring Rush" refers to one of its many uses, as sections can be bundled together to form a pot scrubber; the sharp silica crystals it contains contribute to its scouring ability, but also make it toxic to livestock and humans if ingested.

Another use for Equisetum hyemale is as a toy - either a whistle or using its sections to snap apart and back together, a la Tinker Toys.)

A favorite of dragon flies, especially if planted near a pond or stream, but once established in a moist environment, it can be invasive.


On Sep 5, 2002, ADKSpirit from Elkton, MD (Zone 7a) wrote:

Bulrush is a vigorous pond rush, that grows well in sun or shade, and is hardy throughout most of the country. It can quickly outgrow it's pot if the conditions are right. Its nice to use to add height to a pond or patio tub. In garden centers it's also referred to as Dutch Rush and Horsetails. Set it's pot at or slightly above the water line. It can also be grown in boggy areas.