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Equisetum sylvaticum - L.

Common Name Wood Horsetail, Woodland 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 Damp woods on acid soils, moors etc[17].
Range Temperate regions of Europe, including Britain, N. America and Asia.
Edibility Rating    (1 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade
Equisetum sylvaticum Wood Horsetail, Woodland horsetail


http://www.commanster.eu/commanster.html
Equisetum sylvaticum Wood Horsetail, Woodland 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 sylvaticum is a PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 2. The seeds ripen from April to May.
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). It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Root  Stem
Edible Uses:

Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) - cooked[177]. An asparagus substitute, though it is neither very palatable nor very nutritious. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity. Roots - cooked. A source of starch[177]. 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.
Astringent  Diuretic  Haemostatic  Kidney  Poultice  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 astringent, diuretic and styptic[4]. The barren stems are used, they are most active when fresh but can also be dried and sometimes the ashes of the pant are used[4]. The plant is a useful diuretic when taken internally and is used in the treatment of kidney and bladder problems, internal bleeding[4, 257]. A decoction applied externally will stop the bleeding of wounds and promote healing[4, 257].

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Edible Shrubs provides detailed information, attractively presented, on over 70 shrub species. They have been selected to provide a mix of different plant sizes and growing conditions. Most provide delicious and nutritious fruit, but many also have edible leaves, seeds, flowers, stems or roots, or they yield edible or useful oil.

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Edible Shrubs Book

Other Uses

Dye  Fungicide  Hair  Sandpaper  Scourer

The stems can be used for scouring and polishing metal and as a fine sandpaper[4]. The stems are first bleached by repeated wetting and drying in the sun[74]. They can also be used as a polish for wooden floors and furniture[46, 178]. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses[14]. It also makes a good liquid feed[54]. Used as a hair rinse it can eliminate fleas, lice and mites[213]. A light pink dye is obtained from the stem[99]. A dynamic accumulator gathering minerals or nutrients from the soil and storing them in a more bioavailable form - used as fertilizer or to improve mulch.

Special Uses

Dynamic accumulator  Food Forest

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]. For polyculture design as well as the above-ground architecture (form - tree, shrub etc. and size shown above) information on the habit and root pattern is also useful and given here if available. An evergreen. The plant growth habit is a runner spreading indefinitely by rhizomes or stolons [1-2]. The root pattern is rhizomatous with underground stems sending roots and shoots along their length [1-2].

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The PFAF Bookshop

Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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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 fluviatileSwamp Horsetail, Water horsetailPerennial1.2 0-0  LMHSNMWeWa22 
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 telmateiaGiant HorsetailPerennial2.0 5-9  LMHSNM110
Equisetum variegatumVariegated Horsetail, Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrushPerennial0.6 0-0  LMHSNDM02 

 

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Botanical References

17200

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