Field horsetail

Equisetum arvense L. Equisetaceae (Horsetail family)

Life cycle

Perennial spore-producing plant.

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

field horsetail vegetative stems field horsetail vegetative stems
Field horsetail vegetative stems (both).


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.

patch of field horsetail fruting and vegetative stems
Patch of field horsetail fruiting and vegetative stems.

Flowers and fruit

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


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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