Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail, Scouring Rush)

Equisetum hyemale on 6-5-19, #583-17.

Horsetail, Scouring Rush, etc.

Equisetum hyemale

ek-wis-SEE-tum  hy-EH-may-lee

Synonyms of Equisetum hyemale (29) (Updated on 12-21-22 from Plants of the World Online): Equisetum alpinum Schur (1857), Equisetum hyemale f. attenuatum Milde (1858 publ. 1859), Equisetum hyemale var. brevivaginatum Rosend. (1918), Equisetum hyemale var. capillare (Hy) Rouy (1913), Equisetum hyemale f. doellii Luerss. (1889)(nom. superfl.), Equisetum hyemale var. doellii Milde (1863)(nom. superfl.), Equisetum hyemale var. fallax Milde (1864), Equisetum hyemale var. fuscozonatum Schur (1853), Equisetum hyemale f. hondae (Satou) Nakaike (1998), Equisetum hyemale var. javanicum Milde (1864), Equisetum hyemale var. minus A.Braun ex Milde (1867), Equisetum hyemale f. minus (A.Braun ex Milde) Luerss. (1889), Equisetum hyemale f. paleaceum (Schleich. ex A.Braun & Engelm.) Asch. (1864), Equisetum hyemale subsp. paleaceum (Schleich. ex A.Braun & Engelm.) R.C.V.Douin (1934), Equisetum hyemale f. paleaceum Rabenh. (1848)(nom. illeg.), Equisetum hyemale var. paleaceum Schleich. ex A.Braun & Engelm. (1844), Equisetum hyemale var. paucifolium Gray (1821 publ. 1822), Equisetum hyemale var. rabenhorstii Milde (1864), Equisetum hyemale var. ramigerum A.Braun ex Milde (1867), Equisetum hyemale f. ramigerum (A.Braun ex Milde) Luerss. (1889), Equisetum hyemale var. ramigerum (Milde ) Rouy (1913), Equisetum hyemale var. ramosum Gray 1822), Equisetum hyemale var. simplex Wallr. (1831), Equisetum hyemale var. subramosum A.Braun (1839)(nom. nud.), Equisetum hyemale var. uliginosum Borkh. (1798), Equisetum hyemale var. viride Milde (1836), Equisetum hyemale f. viride (Milde ) Luerss. (1889), Hippochaete hyemalis (L.) Milde ex Bruhin (1868), Presla hyemalis (L.) Dulac (1867)

Equisetum hyemale L. is the correct and accepted scientific name of this species of Equisetum. The genus and species were both described as such by Carl von Linnaeus in the second volume of the first edition of Species Plantarum in 1753.

As of 12-21-22 when this page was last updated, Plants of the World Online lists 18 species in the Equisetum genus. It is a member of the plant family Equisetaceae with Equisetum as the only genus. Those numbers could change as updates are made on POWO.


Equisetum hyemale on 5-10-10, #55-23.

I was given my start of Horsetail by Augustine Taylor of Leland, Mississippi in May of 2010. She had this HUGE Agave americana ssp. protoamericana in her front yard that flowered that summer. A good friend of mine, Kyle Hall, and I stopped in to see it and noticed she also had a lot of Equisetum growing next to the Agave in the yard and in the ditch. She told me I could have all I wanted… SO, I dug up 9 small plants and brought them home. I first had them in their own pots, but later decided to put them all in one. Knowing how invasive they could be, I left them in the pot. I also knew someday I would move from the mansion and I would want to take them with me.  They say a photo is worth a thousand words and I took quite a few of my Equisetum hyemale.

Equisetum hyemale on 10-24-11, #83-9.

Even though the Equisetum hyemale pretty much grows anywhere all over the world as a perennial, I brought the pot inside for the winter. When people would come for a visit and see the horsetail in the sunroom, they looked at it then at me like I was a little off my rocker. I had a lot of plants which didn’t help. Besides that, I was new to gardening in the south and I had five sunrooms in the mansion.

Equisetum hyemale on 4-15-12, #86-33.

Once the horsetail was back outside it started sending up new shoots again.

Equisetum hyemale on 2-17-13, #139-39.

The pot nearly filled up during the summer of 2012 but I just left them alone. I had to tie them up because they started falling over.


Equisetum hyemale on 6-1-13, #151-37.

I sold the mansion to a group that turned it into a really nice bed and breakfast. Dad asked me to move back to the family farm in mid-Missouri so in February 2013 I left Mississippi and headed to Missouri. Mom wasn’t well and dad had also been sick. Dad was 82 at the time and mom was 81. I told him I had a lot of plants and he just said, “yeah”. He is very hard of hearing and I am sure he didn’t realize what was about to happen. I gave up around 200 plants but brought most of my cacti and succulents, Alocasia, and several others with me. Including my Equisetum hyemale

A good friend of mine, Thomas Hitchcock, helped me move and used his vehicle to pull the trailer. The trip took 8-9 hours and most of the plants were in the trailer and the temp was around 30 degrees all the way. From about Springfield all the way to Windsor was snowing and the closer we got to the farm, the deeper the snow was. When we arrived, Thomas and I first unloaded the plants and took them to the basement. I had no idea what I was going to do with them yet.

The Equisetum stayed in the basement the remainder of the winter. Many of the plants in the pot didn’t make it and I cut the rest all the way back so they could regrow.

Equisetum hyemale on 6-21-13, #156-10.

Family: Equisetaceae
Origin: North America and Eurasia
Zones: USDA Zones 4-9 (-40 to 40 ° F/-39.9 to 4.5° C)
Size: 24-48” PLUS
Light: Full sun to part shade
Soil: Just about any soil
Water: Average, drought tolerant
Propagation: Don’t worry it will figure it out.
Uses: Depends on you. They even make good houseplants.
Concerns: Ummm… Can become very invasive.

Equisetum hyemale on 7-14-13, #162-33.

The Equisetum really started growing…

Equisetum hyemale on 8-14-13, #174-9.

and growing…

Equisetum hyemale branching out on 8-14-13, #174-10.

The plants I had cut back started branching out.

Equisetum hyemale on 9-17-13, #188-37.

I am kind of running out of words…

Equisetum hyemale on 10-7-13, #193-51.

By the end of the summer, the pot was nearly full AGAIN!


Equisetum hyemale on 7-12-14, #231-50.

One thing is for sure, the Equisetum hyemale doesn’t like it in the basement over winter. I decided since I would probably be spending many years here at the farm it may be a good idea to go ahead and put the Horsetail in the ground. Believe me, I knew what could happen and I was very reluctant. But, I did it. I was surprised they didn’t go nuts but they barely spread at all nor did they get very tall.


Equisetum hyemale on 4-10-15, #237-9.

The winter wasn’t that bad so they made it through their first winter in the ground with no problem. At the time, I didn’t know just how hardy these plants were.

Equisetum hyemale on 4-21-15, #243-3.

A few new shoots started popping up…

Equisetum hyemale on 5-16-15, #255-8.

Then more…

Equisetum hyemale on 6-14-15, #268-23.

The horsetail was looking very good by June.

Equisetum hyemale on 6-18-15, #269-15.

Not only do the Equisetum hyemale spread by rhizomes, but they also grow these “pods” which burst open and send out spores.


Equisetum hyemale on 7-19-16, #274-31.

Now it is spreading more…

Equisetum hyemale on 7-24-16, #278-1.


Equisetum hyemale on 4-20-17, #320-3.

The winter was fairly mild again and it is already sending up new shoots in April… A LOT!

Equisetum hyemale on 4-23-17, #321-2-7.

I ran out of words to say for now so you can just look at the photos… Remember, photos are worth a thousand words.

Equisetum hyemale on 5-6-17, #326-7.


Equisetum hyemale on 5-6-17, #326-8.


Equisetum hyemale on 6-18-17, #345-18.


Equisetum hyemale on 7-9-17, #355-15.

I should have measured it to see how tall it was here. I would estimate about 5 feet.

Equisetum hyemale on 7-19-17, #357-28.

HOLY CRAP!!! Now it is really going good!

Equisetum hyemale on 8-29-17, #369-56.

You have to admit, they are neat looking plants…


Equisetum hyemale on 1-21-18, #404-2.

We have had several fairly mild winters in a row, but this one has been very cold. The Horsetail is all laying down. In cold areas, the Equisetum hyemale is SUPPOSEDLY deciduous, so this winter I was wondering if it may completely die back.

Equisetum hyemale on 2-21-18, #412-3.

With possibly the coldest part of the winter behind us, the Equisetum hyemale did not die back. How could it be considered deciduous?

Equisetum hyemale on 5-31-18, #450-19.

By May 31, the Equisetum was sending up new growth… EVERYWHERE it could within 10′ from where it was originally planted.

Equisetum hyemale on 6-14-18, #459-23.

I will be very honest with you. You have to really like Horsetail and you MUST understand what can happen under the right conditions. To say this is an invasive species is kind of an understatement. As far as I’m concerned, I really like it so I don’t mind it growing freely. I can always make the bed bigger or just mow them off when they come up in the grass.


Equisetum hyemale on 6-5-19, #583-17.

OK… Ummm… Looking back makes me wonder if I should have kept this plant in pots. 🙂 Well, you can’t look back because the Equisetum hyemale certainly doesn’t. It has been coming up in the right of the bed for a couple of years but now it is coming up in front. So, I have Horsetail as far as 10-15′ from the chicken house. Well, that’s OK. I just mow them off. It’s a good thing I didn’t plant it in a flower bed by the house.


Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) on 9-24-21, #835-16.

GEEZ! I think there is no end in sight… It has spread to the other side of the chicken house, too…

Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail) on 9-24-21, #835-17.

DOUBLE GEEZ! It started coming up in an area I don’t keep mowed north of the chicken house a few years ago. It’s about maybe 20′ from where I originally put it. It pops up in the grass I do mow, but not that much. It knows exactly where to go…

I didn’t take any photos of the Equisetum in 2022, but I assure you it is alive and well…

I hope you enjoyed this page so far and maybe laughing. I know I am. I will probably fill in some interesting information between the photos in time, but for now, you can check out the links below. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, I would like to hear from you. If you are close by and would like some Equisetum hyemale, just let me know in the comments. Be sure to click on “like” below if you have visited this page. It helps us bloggers stay motivated. 🙂


2 comments on “Equisetum hyemale (Horsetail, Scouring Rush)

  1. anthony says:

    hey i was wondering, did you water it daily or just leave it there? is it in full sun or half shade?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello Anthony! The Equisetum will grow pretty much anywhere it wants. For the past several years I haven’t given it any extra water. It gets a good amount of sun in front of the chicken house throughout the day with shade in the morning and late afternoon. Just be aware this plant will spread. If you plant it and don’t want it going wild you need to provide some kind of a barrier. They also have spores but I am not sure to what extent it spreads like that. I think mine mainly spreads underground. I like the Equisetum but it is one plant will drive you insane if you plant it where you like a little control over what is growing and where. Thanks for the comment and don’t hesitate to ask questions. I will promptly reply.


Please leave a comment. I would like to hear from you.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.