The horsetail has bunches of green stems with many whorled branches resembling bottle brushes. In spring, these green stems are replaced by blunt-tipped brown ones.
RANGE & HABITAT
Horsetails can be found almost everywhere around the world except Australia and New Zealand. They live in moist places like wet grasslands or woods, marshes or ditches.
Pale brown fertile stems form cones that send out spores to produce new plants in the spring. When these stems wither, bunches of infertile green stems that resemble bottle brushes appear.
Bear and moose like to eat horsetails, but they can be toxic to horses.
TRADITIONAL USES BY INDIGENOUS PEOPLES
The rough stems of horsetails make them ideal to use as sandpaper to smooth carved items like canoes or arrow shafts. They are also used to treat bladder and kidney problems.
There are many medicinal uses for horsetails, from external doses that help with burns, wounds or sprains, to internal remedies for kidney and bladder stones and other conditions.
COSEWIC: Not at Risk
Photo: Florence Craye