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Scouringrush Horsetail Back to Plant Page
Equisetum hyemale

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About Scouringrush Horsetail (Equisetum hyemale) Equisetum hyemale (Rough Horsetail or Scouring Rush) is a widespread species ative to moist forests, forest edges and stream banks, swamps, fens throughout most of California. It is primarily found in wetlands, and in riparian zones of rivers and streams where it can withstand seasonal flooding. It is also found around springs and seeps, and can indicate their presence when not flowing. Other habitats include moist forest and woodland openings, lake and pond shores, ditches, and marshes and swamps. It has jointed reed-like stalks impregnated with silica which makes them feel rough to the touch. The rough bristles have been used to scour or clean pots, used as sandpaper, as well as to shape the reeds of reed instruments such as clarinets or saxophones. Boiled and dried Equisetum hyemale is used as traditional polishing material like fine grit sandpaper in Japan. Best used in a container. If planted in the ground it can be an aggressive spreader. It is popular on the margin of ponds and bioswales.
Plant Description
Plant Type

Max. Height
3 ft (0.9 m)

Upright Columnar


Growth Rate
Fast, Moderate

Native Status

Natural Setting
Site Type
Streams, ponds, seeps, springs, ditches, and other moist, sandy or gravelly places

Shade, Part Shade

Elevation ?
-7' - 9369'

Annual Precip. ?
2.8" - 89.1"

Summer Precip. ?
0.14" - 2.84"

Coldest Month ?
24.3° F - 61.3° F

Hottest Month ?
46.5° F - 88.7° F

Humidity ?
0.09 vpd - 42.78 vpd

Soil Description
Tolerates a variety of soils

Soil PH
4.0 - 7.5

Fast, Medium, Slow

Cold Tolerance(° F)
Tolerates cold to 0° F

Companion Plants
Use with other wetland plants

Landscaping Information
Water Requirement ?
Moderate - High
Extremely Low
Very Low
Moderate - High

Very Popular

Max. Summer Water ?
Keep moist
No Summer Water
Keep moist

Common uses
Bogs and Ponds, Groundcovers, Deer Resistant, Bird Gardens

Nursery Availability
Commonly Available

Sources include: Wikipedia. All text shown in the "About" section of these pages is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Plant observation data provided by the participants of the California Consortia of Herbaria, Sunset information provided by Jepson Flora Project. Propogation from seed information provided by the Santa Barbara Botanical Garden from "Seed Propagation of Native California Plants" by Dara E. Emery. Sources of plant photos include CalPhotos, Wikimedia Commons, and independent plant photographers who have agreed to share their images with Calscape. Other general sources of information include Calflora, CNPS Manual of Vegetation Online, Jepson Flora Project, Las Pilitas, Theodore Payne, Tree of Life, The Xerces Society, and information provided by CNPS volunteer editors, with special thanks to Don Rideout. Climate data used in creation of plant range maps is from PRISM Climate Group, Oregon State University, using 30 year (1981-2010) annual "normals" at an 800 meter spatial resolution.

Links:   Jepson eFlora Taxon Page  CalPhotos  Wikipedia  Calflora

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