Equisetum sylvaticum

Tracheophyta EquisetopsidaEquisetaceaeEquisetumEquisetum sylvaticum


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.

© Pete Stroh

Broad Habitats

Light (Ellenberg): 5

Moisture (Ellenberg): 8

Reaction (Ellenberg): 5

Nitrogen (Ellenberg): 5


Salt Tolerance (Ellenberg): 0

January Mean Temperature (Celsius): 2.9

July Mean Temperature (Celsius): 13.7

Annual Precipitation (mm): 1269

Life form information

Height (cm): 90

Perennation - primary


Life Form - primary

Non-bulbous geophyte (rhizome, corm or tuber)



Clonality - primary

Rhizome far-creeping

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%)


Distribution information

JNCC Designations


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)
Atlas of north European vascular plants north of the Tropic of Cancer. 3 vols,
Hultén, E., and Fries M.
, Königstein, (1986)

Jalas & Suominen (1972)
Ferns and their allies,
Bangerter, E. B., Cannon J. F. M., and Jermy A. C.
, The Island of Mull: a survey of its flora and environment, London, p.12.1-12.7, (1978)

Vergleichende Chorologie der zentraleuropäischen Flora. Volume 1. 2 vols,
Meusel, H., Jäger E., and Weinert E.
, Jena, (1965)

The ferns of Britain and Ireland, edn 2,
Page, C. N.
, Cambridge, (1997)