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Field Horsetail
Equisetum arvense
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Pteridophyta
Class: Equisetopsida
Order: Equisetales
Family: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: E. arvense
Binomial name
Equisetum arvense
Linnaeus, 1753

Equisetum arvense, commonly known as the Field Horsetail or Common Horsetail, is a rather bushy perennial with a rhizomatous stem formation native to the northern hemisphere. These horsetails may have sterile or fertile stems. Sterile stems start to grow after the fertile stems have wilted. The sterile stems tend to be much taller and bushier, with the jointed segments being around one inch (2.5 cm) long with a diameter of about 1/20th of an inch (1 mm). These segments contain one set of whorled, slender, erect branches each. Some stems can have as many as 20 segments and be as tall as 2-24 inches (5–60 cm). The fertile stems tend to be half as tall as the sterile stems and also tend to be more succulent.

This plant also has a very high diploid number - 216 (108 pairs of chromosomes) - which is roughly 5 times greater than the human diploid number (46).


The plant contains several substances which can be used medicinally. It is rich in the minerals silicon (10%), potassium, and calcium, which gives it diuretic properties. It is prescribed to care for (cartilage, tendons, and bones) and also polyps, epistasis, and bleeding. The buds are eaten as a vegetable in Japan in spring time. All other Equisetum species are toxic. In polluted conditions, it may synthesise nicotine.

It was also once used to polish pewter and wood (gaining the name pewterwort) and to strengthen fingernails. Also as an abrasive: it was used by Hurdy-Gurdy players to dress the wheels of their instruments by removing resin build up. [1]

In herbalism it is used to treat kidney and bladder problems, gastro-enteritis, and prostate and urinary infections, and is particularly indicated for enuresis in children. Externally it is used for chilblains and wounds.[2]


  1. ^ La Vielleuse Habile, Jean-Francois Bouin, 1761, page 19.
  2. ^ Howard, Michael. Traditional Folk Remedies (Century, 1987); p.159-160

External links



Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From Wikispecies


Classification System: Smith et al. 2006

Main Page
Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Pteridophyta
Classis: Equisetopsida
Ordo: Equisetales
Familia: Equisetaceae
Genus: Equisetum
Species: Equisetum arvense


Equisetum arvense, L.


  • USDA, NRCS. 2006. The PLANTS Database, 6 March 2006 (
  • Data compiled from various sources by Mark W. Skinner. National Plant Data Center, Baton Rouge, LA 70874-4490 USA.
  • Equisetum arvense L. Report on ITIS

Vernacular names

Deutsch: Acker-Schachtelhalm
English: Field Horsetail
Magyar: Mezei zsurló
日本語: スギナ(杉菜)
Русский: Хвощ полевой
Suomi: Peltokorte
Українська: Хвощ польовий
中文: 問荊
Wikimedia Commons For more multimedia, look at Equisetum arvense on Wikimedia Commons.


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