Equisetum palustre (Marsh Horsetail)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, shade, sun; wet; swamps, bogs, ditches|
|Plant height:||10 to 18 inches|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FACW MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
The sterile stem is green and has whorled branches that are spreading to ascending. The stem has a small central cavity and hollow branches. The “leaves” are reduced to a toothed sheath that surrounds the stem, with 5 to 10 black/brown teeth that have white or translucent edging. The first sheath on the branch (aka first internode) has 5 or 6 narrow teeth and the first branch internode is shorter than the stem sheath.
Marsh Horsetail does not tend to create large colonies like many other Equisetum species do. It may be confused with Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) or Meadow Horsetail (E. pratense), both of which have 3 or 4 teeth on the branch sheath where E. palustre has 5 or 6, and solid branches where E. palustre are hollow. In addition, E. arvense is similar with spreading to ascending branches, but its first branch internode is longer than the stem sheath. E. pratense is similar to E. palustre with the first branch internode shorter than the stem sheath, but has spreading to drooping branches, not ascending.
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- Marsh Horsetail plant
- Marsh Horsetail plants
- Marsh Horsetail in bog habitat
- close up of stem teeth with pale edging
Photos courtesy John Thayer taken at Iron Springs Bog SNA, Clearwater County.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?