Horsetail

Equisetum hyemale

Description


Horsetail is a very primitive perennial plant with dark-green hollow, jointed or segmented stems 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick with no true leaves. Stems may be singular or have whorls of branches. Only single stems produce the cone-shaped spore producing body at the tip. Horsetails can be standing in water or in wet areas. Horsetail stems contain silicon crystals (i.e. sand) embedded in its tissue. This gritty texture gives it a common name of “scouring rush”.

Submerged portions of all aquatic plants provide habitats for many micro and macro invertebrates. These invertebrates in turn are used as food by fish and other wildlife species (e.g. amphibians, reptiles, ducks, etc.). After aquatic plants die, their decomposition by bacteria and fungi provides food (called “detritus”) for many aquatic invertebrates. Horsetail has no known direct food value to wildlife.