Equisetum hyemale

Source: Allen Gathman

Equisetum hyemale

Equisetum hyemale or Barred Horsetail is a remarkable aquatic plant: composed of long cylindrical hollow green stems with white and black knots, it does not form leaves.

The female stems bloom in spring with greyish yellow to black ovoid spikes. Sporangia are dispersed by the wind.

Equisetum is the only genus of the Equisetopsida family. The name Equisetum is composed of equus (horse) and seta (or saeta, which mean coarse hair, bristle). This name was given because the species with branches look like a horsetail.

It is a fossil genus that was widespread a 100 million years ago and that grew in the undergrowth. Some species were the size of a tree and could be 30 m high. It is found on all continents except Australasia and Antarctica.

Equisetum japonicum is hardy, so it will decorate a pool, the banks of a pond or a simple tray the year round … It can be grown in ground or under water.


Equisetum hiemale var. japonicum

Common names:

Barred horsetail
Horsetail rush




The crushed stalks were used for brushing teeth. They contain a large amount of silica, a chemical commonly found in sand and quartz, which is known for its hardness. Currently, it is sold as toothpaste containing horsetail in powder form.
Horsetail is also used in medicine, homeopathy and herbal medicine for its diuretic, mineralizing and tonic properties.


USDA Zone 6, -20 °C


Prefers acidic soils, wet or flooded


1 to 2 m




By dividing the root ball


Sun, partial shade


  • requires little care
  • can be invasive and the clod should then be divided
  • brown stems may be cut
  • can be grown submerged or at the edge of a water feature or in pots