Equisetum sylvaticum (Wood Horsetail)


Summary Information


A deciduous, colony-forming herb which generally grows on deep, mildly acidic, often peaty soils that are kept permanently damp by flushing. It occurs on the lower slopes of mountain valleys, steep streamsides, wet ledges and open flushes, beside lakes and on the edges of drainage ditches. It also occurs on wet road verges and railway embankments. 0-850 m (Breadalbanes, Mid Perth).



World Distribution

Circumpolar Boreo-temperate element.


Photos Information


Habitats Information

Broad Habitats

Broadleaved, mixed and yew woodland
Inland rock (quarries, cliffs, screes)

Light (Ellenberg): 5 Information

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8 Information

Reaction (Ellenberg): 5 Information

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5 Information

Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0 Information

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.9 Information

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.7 Information

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1269 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: 1561

Count of 10km squares in Ireland: 334

Count of 10km squares in the Channel Isles: 0

Atlas Change Index: -0.35

Weighted Changed Factor: 4

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 (4b)
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.