Equisetum arvense (Field Horsetail)


Summary Information


The natural habitats of this deciduous herb include river banks, fixed dune grassland, sea-cliffs and montane flushes, but it has become closely associated with human activity. Being long-lived, vigorous, resistant to herbicides and tolerant of drier conditions than other Equisetum species, it is now frequent on roadsides, railways, paths, soil banks and waste ground, and in quarries and gardens, where its spread is assisted by rhizome fragments. 0?1005 m (Beinn Heasgarnich, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Wide-boreal element.


Photos Information


Habitats Information

Broad Habitats

Boundary and linear features (eg hedges, roadsides, walls)
Arable and horticultural (includes orchards, excludes domestic gardens)

Light (Ellenberg): 7 Information

Moisture (Ellenberg): 6 Information

Reaction (Ellenberg): 6 Information

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 6 Information

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0 Information

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 3.5 Information

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 14.5 Information

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1087 Information

Life Form

Life Form Information

Height (cm): 90

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: 2666

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 921

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 12

Atlas Change Index: 0.39

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.