Scientific Name: Equisetum arvense

Common Name: field horsetail

Other Common Names: common horsetail, devil's-guts, horse pipes, horsetail fern, marestail, meadow-pine, pine-grass, foxtail-rush, bottle-brush, snake-grass

Synonyms: Equisetum arvense var. alpestre, Equisetum arvense var. boreale, Equisetum arvense var. campestre, Equisetum arvense var. riparium, Equisetum calderi

Habit: Cones produce thousands of minute spores from mid-April to May. The fertile stems soon wither and die, giving way to the vegetative branched stems. Of primary concern are the rhizomes, which, along with starch-filled tubers, are easily spread by cultivation, in topsoil, and in infested balled and burlapped nursery crops.

Leaves: Small, scale-like and black-tipped.

Identifying Characteristics: Produces mainly by creeping rhizomes that bear tubers.

Flower Seed Head: Stems have cones which produce thousands of tiny spores.

Seed Fruit: Tiny spores

Where Found: Field horsetail is a common weed of landscapes, orchards, and nursery crops. It grows on many different soils but does particularly well on sandy soils, on neutral or slightly basic soils, and in areas where the water table is high and soil drainage is poor. It is also found in low meadows, pastures, small fruit crops, roadsides, woodlands, and embankments. Field horsetail is resistant to most herbicides used in agriculture.

  • Life cycle: perennial

  • Milky sap: Not Present

  • Plant type: Herb

  • Thorns: Not Present

  • Plant family: Equisetaceae

  • Leaf arrangement: whorled

  • Leaf shape: needle; triangle

  • Ochrea: Not Present

  • Leaf margin: entire

  • Stem hairs: no hairs

  • Growth habit: upright and nonwoody

  • Stem: round or oval

  • Leaf structure: simple

  • Leaf hairs: no hairs

  • Root structure: fibrous; rhizomes present

  • Leaf stalk: none