Field horsetail

Equisetum arvense L.

Life cycle

Perennial, spore-producing plant.


Not present.


Vegetative stems are green and branch in whorls. Stems may have a bottle-brush appearance and should not exceed 2 feet in height. Stems die back to the ground in winter.

field horsetail stalk close-up of field horsetail vegetative stem
Field horsetail fruiting stalk (left). Close-up of vegetative stem of field horsetail (right).

field horsetail vegetative stem field horsetail vegetative stem
Field horsetail vegetative stems.

Flowers and fruit

Erect, unbranched, white to brown fruiting stalks (stems) bear terminal spore-releasing cones. Flowers are not produced.

field horsetail stalk and vegetative stems
Patch of field horsetail fruting and vegetative stems.


Spores and prolific rhizomes. 

Similar weeds

Scouringrush (E. hyemale L.) Differs by having larger evergreen stems with little or no branching. Grows only in wet areas.

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