Flora of Northern Ireland
Equisetum arvense
© Paul Hackney
Equisetum arvense
© Paul Hackney
Equisetum arvense
© Paul Hackney
Equisetum arvense
(Map updated: March 2008)
Equisetum arvense
© Robert Northridge
 

This is a very common plant of a wide variety of habitats, including gardens as a pernicious weed! Other situations include the dryer parts of sand-dunes, waste tips, the edges of roads and railway tracks, pathways, arable fields, hedgebanks and scrub. Shoots are of two sorts: in early spring, almost colourless, rather fleshy unbranched shoots appear which carry the cones (which produce the spores). These are followed later by the green, regularly-branched, deeply-grooved photosynthetic shoots, which persist until the following winter. All shoots are produced from a creeping underground rhizome.

Some people refer to this plant as 'mare's tail', but strictly speaking that name refers to a completely unrelated aquatic plant Hippuris vulgaris.

All names: Equisetum arvense L.