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Equisetum fluviatile - L.

Common Name Swamp Horsetail, Water horsetail
Family Equisetaceae
USDA hardiness Coming soon
Known Hazards Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase[172], a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex[65]. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[172]. The plant also contains equisetic acid - see the notes on medicinal uses for more information[213].
Habitats Shallow water in lakes, ponds and ditches[17].
Range Arctic and temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Wet Soil Water Plants Semi-shade Full sun
Equisetum fluviatile Swamp Horsetail, Water horsetail


http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Llez
Equisetum fluviatile Swamp Horsetail, Water horsetail
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Summary

Equisetum species - horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Equisetum fluviatile is a PERENNIAL growing to 1.2 m (4ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. The seeds ripen from June to July.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist or wet soil and can grow in water.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

E. heliocharis. E. limosum.

Habitats

 Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Stem
Edible Uses:

Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) - cooked[2, 4, 85]. Used as an asparagus substitute, though it is neither palatable nor nutritious[4]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Roots - cooked[4, 85, 105]. The roots contain a nutritious starch[2]. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Styptic

Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants[238]. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals[238]. The plant is styptic[61]. The barren stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be dried and sometimes the ashes of the plant are used[4]. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing[4].

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Other Uses

None known

Special Uses

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5[200]. Plants are hardy to about -30°c[200]. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground[200].

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Propagation

Spores - best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult[200]. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Equisetum arvenseField HorsetailPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNDM230
Equisetum hyemaleDutch Rush, Scouringrush horsetail, Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Rough HorsetailPerennial1.0 3-11  LMHSNM220
Equisetum palustreMarsh HorsetailPerennial0.6 -  LMHSNMWe02 
Equisetum pratenseMeadow HorsetailPerennial0.6 4-8  LMHSNM22 
Equisetum sylvaticumWood Horsetail, Woodland horsetailPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSM123
Equisetum telmateiaGiant HorsetailPerennial2.0 5-9  LMHSNM110
Equisetum variegatumVariegated Horsetail, Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrushPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNDM02 

 

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Expert comment

Author

L.

Botanical References

17

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here

Readers comment

Ron Schwarz   Thu May 10 2007

Under "other uses", it should be mentioned that horsetail is used to scrub pots; due to its high silica content it is a natural mild abrasive. This is likely its most common use in the U.S.A.

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