Equisetum telmateia (Great Horsetail)


Summary Information


A robust, deciduous, colony-forming herb of base-rich clay soils in sites with spring-lines, permanent seepages and open flushes, especially in areas where porous rocks are interbedded with clays. It prefers open habitats and is particularly frequent on eroding sea- and river-cliffs, but also grows on roadsides and railway embankments. Lowland to 365 m in Fossdale (N.W. Yorks.).



World Distribution

European Southern-temperate element; also in western N. America (subsp. braunii).


Photos Information


Habitats Information

Broad Habitats

Fen, marsh and swamp (not wooded)

Light (Ellenberg): 6 Information

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8 Information

Reaction (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6 Information

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0 Information

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.8 Information

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 15.2 Information

Annual Precipitation (mm): 950 Information

Life Form

Life Form Information

Height (cm): 180

Perennation - primary


Perennation - secondary

Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)

Life Form - secondary



Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

Clonality - secondary


Distribution Information

Count of 10km squares in Great Britain: 1248

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 426

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 3

Atlas Change Index: 0.41

Weighted Changed Factor: -3

Weighted Change Factor Confidence (90%)


Conservation Status

Conservation Status Information

Plantatt Conservation Status

Other Accounts

Other Accounts Information


References Information

PLANTATT - Attributes of British and Irish plants. (.zip 1455KB) This dataset was compiled and published in 2004, and last updated in November 2008. Download includes an Excel spreadsheet of the attributes, and a PDF explaining the background and nomenclature. Note that the PDF version is the booklet as published, whereas the Excel spreadsheet incorporates subsequent corrections.
A hardcopy can be purchased from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.

Atlas text references

Atlas (5a)
Hultén E, Fries M.  1986.  Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols.
Jalas & Suominen (1972)
Bangerter EB, Cannon JFM, Jermy AC.  1978.  Ferns and their allies. The Island of Mull: a survey of its flora and environment. :12.1-12.7.
Meusel H, Jäger E, Weinert E.  1965.  Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols.
Page CN.  1997.  The ferns of Britain and Ireland, edn 2.