We need to raise £10,000 from user donations to get our finances in balance. More >>>

Follow Us:

 

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
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Lviatour

 

Translate this page:

You can translate the content of this page by selecting a language in the select box.

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.

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].

Other Uses

None known

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].

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 NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Equisetum arvenseField Horsetail23
Equisetum hyemaleDutch Rush, Scouringrush horsetail, Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Rough Horsetail22
Equisetum palustreMarsh Horsetail02
Equisetum pratenseMeadow Horsetail22
Equisetum sylvaticumWood Horsetail, Woodland horsetail12
Equisetum telmateiaGiant Horsetail11
Equisetum variegatumVariegated Horsetail, Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrush02

 

Print Friendly and PDF

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.

QR Code

What's this?

This is a QR code (short for Quick Response) which gives fast-track access to our website pages. QR Codes are barcodes that can be read by mobile phone (smartphone) cameras. This QR Code is unique to this page. All plant pages have their own unique code. For more information about QR Codes click here.

1. Copy and print the QR code to a plant label, poster, book, website, magazines, newspaper etc and even t-shirts.

2. Smartphone users scan the QR Code which automatically takes them to the webpage the QR Code came from.

3. Smartphone users quickly have information on a plant directly for the pfaf.org website on their phone.

Add a comment

If you have important information about this plant that may help other users please add a comment or link below. Only comments or links that are felt to be directly relevant to a plant will be included. If you think a comment/link or information contained on this page is inaccurate or misleading we would welcome your feedback at admin@pfaf.org. If you have questions about a plant please use the Forum on this website as we do not have the resources to answer questions ourselves.

* Please note: the comments by website users are not necessarily those held by PFAF and may give misleading or inaccurate information.

To leave a comment please Register or login here All comments need to be approved so will not appear immediately.

Subject : Equisetum fluviatile  
All the information contained in these pages is Copyright (C) Plants For A Future, 1996-2012.
Plants For A Future is a charitable company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. Charity No. 1057719, Company No. 3204567,
Web Design & Management
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License. Some information cannot be used for commercial reasons or be modified (but some can). Please view the copyright link for more information.