Equisetum sylvaticum L.

wood horsetail

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New England Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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North America Distribution

Adapted from BONAP data

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Facts About

Wood horsetail's slender, delicate branches have a distinctive lacy appearance. Its below-ground portions can survive repeated fires, and its spores can colonize recently burned areas.

Habitat

Forest edges, forests, swamps

Characteristics

Habitat
  • terrestrial
  • wetlands
New England state
  • Connecticut
  • Maine
  • Massachusetts
  • New Hampshire
  • Rhode Island
  • Vermont
Stem form
the stem is relatively straight
Branches
there are branches off the main stem, and these branches are also branched
Cone tip shape
The tip of the spore cone is blunt
Sheathes on older stems
the leaf sheathes persist in older stems
Sheath color
the leaf sheath is mainly red-brown
Stem cross-section
up to half of the stem diameter is occupied by the hollow central cavity
Number of stem ridges
8–18
Stem color
the aerial stem color is green
Sheath border color
the border of the leaf sheath is dark, or with a narrow white edge
Length of branch section
the first internode of the branch is equal to or longer than the associated stem sheath
Show All Characteristics
  • Leaves
    Leaf length
    3–10 mm
    Leaves per node
    8–18
    Sheath border color
    the border of the leaf sheath is dark, or with a narrow white edge
    Sheath color
    the leaf sheath is mainly red-brown
    Sheathes on older stems
    the leaf sheathes persist in older stems
  • Place
    Habitat
    • terrestrial
    • wetlands
    New England state
    • Connecticut
    • Maine
    • Massachusetts
    • New Hampshire
    • Rhode Island
    • Vermont
    Specific habitat
    • edges of forests
    • forests
    • swamps
  • Spores or spore cones
    Cone length
    15–30 mm
    Cone tip shape
    The tip of the spore cone is blunt
    Spore form
    the spores are green and spherical
  • Stem, shoot, branch
    Branch grooves
    the interior of the grrove is C-shaped
    Branches
    there are branches off the main stem, and these branches are also branched
    How hollow is stem
    17–33
    Length of branch section
    the first internode of the branch is equal to or longer than the associated stem sheath
    Number of stem ridges
    8–18
    Plant height
    250–700 mm
    Stem cavities
    12
    Stem color
    the aerial stem color is green
    Stem cross-section
    up to half of the stem diameter is occupied by the hollow central cavity
    Stem differences
    the vegetative and reproductive stems differ in appearance
    Stem form
    the stem is relatively straight
    Stem texture
    the stem feels smooth or slightly rough
    Stem thickness
    1.5–3 mm

Wetland Status

Usually occurs in wetlands, but occasionally in non-wetlands. (Wetland indicator code: FACW)

New England Distribution and Conservation Status

Distribution

Connecticut
present
Maine
present
Massachusetts
present
New Hampshire
present
Rhode Island
present
Vermont
present

Conservation Status

Exact status definitions can vary from state to state. For details, please check with your state.

Massachusetts
unranked (S-rank: SNR)
Rhode Island
rare (S-rank: S2), concern (code: C)

Native to North America?

Yes

Synonyms

  • Equisetum sylvaticum var. multiramosum (Fern.) Wherry

Family

Equisetaceae

Genus

Equisetum

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Information from Dichotomous Key of Flora Novae Angliae

7.  Equisetum sylvaticum L. N

wood horsetail. Equisetum sylvaticum L.  var. multiramosum (Fern.) Wherry • CT, MA, ME, NH, 
 RI, VT; nearly throughout, lacking from the Cape Cod region of MA. Mesic and hydric forests and forest edges.