scouring rush, horsetail
Could be confused with
temperate Northern Hemisphere
Species commonly cultivated
Equisetum fluviatile L. (Europe, North America)
E. hyemale L. (North America)
E. scirpoides Michx. (Eurasia, Greenland, North America)
Three species are introduced into Australia, and E. hyemale is introduced into New Zealand.
Perennial. Underground rhizome giving rise to erect stems. Stems grooved and jointed, simple or with whorled branches. Leaves reduced to small, whorled, fused scales at joints. Cone at stem apex or borne on special, sterile shoots, consisting of numerous sporangiophores, from which spores are produced. Dispersal by spores and rhizome fragments.
wet ground, rarely in shallow water
Equisetum is an ancient genus, the only remaining representative of the division Equisetophyta (one of the divisions of non seed-bearing vascular plants). Equisetum has about 25 species in two subgenera, with only two aquatic species. In the subgenus Equisetum (horsetails) the stems are soft and tend to be regularly branched, whereas the stems of the subgenus Hippochaete (scouring rushes) tend to be hard, fibrous, and unbranched or irregularly branched.