Horsetail Identification

This toxic perrenial, sometimes confused with marestail, is difficult to control and causes damage to hard landscaping.

Field horsetail or common horsetail (Equisetum arvense), is an invasive herbaceous perennial plant. It is sometimes confused with Marestail, Hippuris vulgaris.

Horsetail is a nonflowering plant, multiplying through spores. It is also toxic to livestock, particularly horses.

Below ground, the plant is supported by an extensive, fiberous rhizome. In early spring, white, fertile stems appear that bear the reproductive spores. Once these have wilted, the green infertile stems appear, that persist until the first frosts. It is these sterile stems that give the plant its common name as when bunched together they resemble a horse's tail.

As well as being toxic to livestock, horsetail also causes problems with hard landscaping such as tarmac, growing straight through where rhizomes have been covered. The spores also lodge in small cracks and germinate, resulting in extensive damage.

Take a look at the images below.

Field horsetail growth
Field horsetail
Field horsetail close up

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