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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    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
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
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lviatour

 

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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).
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 2. The seeds ripen from June to July.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly 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.

Plant Habitats

 Pond; Bog Garden;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Shoots  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.

References   More on Edible Uses

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].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Dynamic accumulator.

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator

References   More on Other 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].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

Type a value in the Celsius field to convert the value to Fahrenheit:

Fahrenheit:

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees,Edible Shrubs, Woodland Gardening, and Temperate Food Forest Plants. Our new book is Food Forest Plants For Hotter Conditions (Tropical and Sub-Tropical).

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Plant 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

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 3-11  LMHSNDM234
Equisetum hyemaleDutch Rush, Scouringrush horsetail, Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Rough HorsetailPerennial1.0 3-11  LMHSNM223
Equisetum palustreMarsh HorsetailPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNMWe023
Equisetum pratenseMeadow HorsetailPerennial0.6 4-8  LMHSNM222
Equisetum scirpoidesDwarf scouring rushPerennial0.2 1-9 SLMHFSNMWe223
Equisetum sylvaticumWood Horsetail, Woodland horsetailPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSM123
Equisetum telmateiaGiant HorsetailPerennial2.0 5-9  LMHSNM113
Equisetum variegatumVariegated Horsetail, Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrushPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNDM023

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.

 

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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