categoryZHorsetails Horsetails List 
categoryZDeciduous Deciduous List 

MARSH HORSETAIL

Equisetum palustre

Horsetail Family [Equisetaceae]

Stems: deciduous, with branches; same stems sporing Jun-Jul
stems8may stems8jun stems8june stems8jul stems8july stems8aug stems8sep stems8sept stems8oct


Spores: same stems sporing Jun-Jul
spores8jun spores8jul

category
category8Horsetails
category
category8Deciduous
status
statusZnative
petals
petalsZ0
(0)
stem
stem8round
 
stem
stem8ribbed
4-9(12) ribs
stem
stem8hollow
 
toxicity
toxicityZmedium
 

18th Sept 2015, in the spoils, Coppermines Valley, Coniston. Photo: © RWD
This specimen is without any leaves, but most generally have leaves. [The similar Variegated Horsetail is always leafless but the main distinguishing feature of that is the thin pointed spire at the top of its cone which Marsh Horsetail lacks].


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Up to 60cm high (this specimen held aloft to separate it from the other plants hiding it), growing in wet or marshy ground.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The branches are in rather sparse whorls.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Branches highly variable in length even from the same node. Branches curved upwards.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
Ridges on the stem are rounded. Look at mid height of plant - the first section of the leaves is shorter than the corresponding length of the stem sheath, here it is half as long as the sheath.


27th April 2015, Whiteford NNR, IoW. Photo: (CC by 2.0) Geoff Toone
Another ripening spore head.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The cones are on vegetative shoots which are often shorter than 60cm and less branched and rounded at the tips.


18th Sept 2015, in the spoils, Coppermines Valley, Coniston. Photo: © RWD


18th Sept 2015, in the spoils, Coppermines Valley, Coniston. Photo: © RWD


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The fertile cone at the summit of the stem.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This cone elongating.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The teeth on the stems.


18th May 2018, Alt Rifle Range, freshfield, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The teeth on the branches, which have rounded terminations.


18th Sept 2015, in the spoils, Coppermines Valley, Coniston. Photo: © RWD
These stems have somehow broken off revealing the very smallness of the central hole in relation to the thickness of the stem.


8th June 2016, moist dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
This specimen both branched and sporing. No, this specimen had not been half-buried through wind-blown sand. It was a very winmdy day and your Author was attempting to get a good contrasty photo of it, so he walked a few dozen yards and stuck it in the sand where the wind-speed was much lower and where the contrast between green horsetail and background colour would be much better. He was right! His previous attempts follow: ....


8th June 2016, moist dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The spore head has matured and extended well above the highest stem teeth. Original location - plant green, background green, contrast low!


8th June 2016, moist dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The sporing head in close-up.


8th June 2016, moist dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The topmost sheath teeth with their long teeth and thin, wide white margins.


8th June 2016, moist dunes, Hall Road, Sefton Coast. Photo: © RWD
The branches lower down.


Not to be semantically confused with : Horse-radish (Armoracia rusticana) , Horse-Chestnut, Horseshoe Vetch (Hippocrepis comosa) nor to Horse Mint (Mentha longifolia) [plants with similar names belonging to differing families]

Hybridizes with :

  • Great Horsetail (Equisetium telmatia) to produce Equisetum × font-queri which is intermediate between the two in all characteristics. But the cones are sterile and on vegetative shoot. Found in West Britain.
  • Field Horsetail (Equisetum arvense) to produce Equisetum × rothmaleri which is sterile with the cones on normal vegetative shoots and intermediate in characteristics betwen the two parents.
  • Water Horsetail (Equisetum fluviatile) to produce Equisetum × dycei which is intermediate in characteristics and looks like a feeble Equisetum × litorale but with fewer whorled branches.

Marsh Horsetail is also a toxic Horsetail, but apparently not to humans. It contains the same toxin Palustrine as is found in Great Horsetail. Palustrine is a piperidine alkaloid which can make cattle lame. Marsh Horsetail also contains an enzyme which destroys Vitamin B1, particularly in horses where it can induce severe un-co-ordination.


  Equisetum palustre  ⇐ Global Aspect ⇒ Equisetaceae  

Distribution
 family8Horsetail family8Equisetaceae

 BSBI maps
genus8Equisetum
Equisetum
(Horsetails)

MARSH HORSETAIL

Equisetum palustre

Horsetail Family [Equisetaceae]