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Horsetail

Equisetum arvense

Horsetail

APPEARANCE

The horestail is formed of 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, and they like to live in moist places like wet grasslands or woods, marshes or ditches.

LIFE CYCLE

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.

ANIMAL USES

Bear and moose like to eat horsetails, but they can be toxic to horses.

TRADITIONAL FIRST NATIONS USES

The rough stems of horsetails made them ideal for First Nations People to use them like sandpaper to smooth carved items like canoes or arrow shafts. They were also used to treat bladder and kidney problems.

MODERN USES

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.

STATUS

COSEWIC: Not at Risk
CDC: Yellow

MORE INFORMATION

www.rook.org

Photo: Florence Craye