South Dakota Native Plant Research
Equisetaceae : Equisetum hyemale

Equisetaceae : Equisetum hyemale


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Family Name


Common Name

Scouring rush

Native American Name

Lakota: waŋyéča hú tȟáŋka


Equisetum hyemale is a non-flowering, rhizomatous, evergreen perennial, the stems growing to 2 m in height, generally clustered often forming dense stands. The dark green stems are rigid, rough, hollow, vertically ridged and jointed at each node. The nodes are marked by a whorl of tiny, clasping fused ash gray tooth-like leaves tipped in black and a black band. Teeth are usually shed during the growing season. Sterile and fertile stems are alike in this species, with some stem tips bearing a cone-like fruiting head, 5-25 mm long, which produces numerous minute spherical spores. These sporangia develop from April to October. Scouring rush occurs in wet woods, moist hillsides and peripheries of water bodies in the eastern and western peripheries of South Dakota.

Additional Notes

Scouring rush tolerates an extremely wide range of soils and will grow in up to 4” of standing water. This species is a very aggressive plant that spreads by branched, creeping rhizomes and is difficult to remove once established.

Horticulture Notes

Spore Collection: Horsetails do not produce seeds. Spores collected from the cones will occasionally produce gametophytes if sprinkled on moist soil.

Germination: Spores produce small haploid plants that will eventually produce a new generation of plants.

Vegetative Propagation: Plant spreads by rhizomes and is readily separated and transplanted.

Soils: Grows well on clay and clay loams which remain wet curing much of the year

Light: Full sun to partial shade.

Water: Require moist conditions.

Equisetaceae : Equisetum hyemale