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Scouring Rush Equisetum hyemale

Other plants called Scouring Rush:

Phonetic Spelling
ek-wis-SEE-tum hy-EH-may-lee
Description

Scouring rush is an herbaceous, non-flowering perennial in the Equisetaceae (horsetail) family.  It is native to North America, Europe and northern Asia up to elevations of 8500 feet.  It is distributed in North America, Greenland, Mexico, Guatemala, Europe, and Asia.   It forms large, dense colonies of upright, reed-like, unbranched stalks up to 5 feet tall.  Stems may remain evergreen through the winter. Jointed stems have ring-like sheaths comprised of semi-deciduous, tiny scale-like leaves.  Stems have rough silica-containing ridges, making it unappealing to deer and other herbivores.  It forms both fertile and infertile shoots. This plant reproduces by means of a spore-bearing cone that forms at the tip of fertile stems. Spores are released in early to mid-summer. Plants also spread by means of a deep network of rhizomes and fibrous secondary roots.  It is found in moist habitats with sandy or gravely soil such as wetlands, ditches, streams and rivers subject to seasonal flooding, marshes, swamps, ponds and moist woodlands.

Native Americans utilized the stalks and/or roots of this plant as a food and fodder, for medicinal purposes and horse treatments, as fiber for baskets, as a disinfectant and insecticide, as an abrasive sanding compound, and in ceremonial uses.

The genus name is from Latin equus (horse) and seta (bristle). The species name hyemale means of the winter.

This plant is a very aggressive spreader and, if grown ornamentally, must be contained in pots to avoid unwanted invasive growth.

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems. Aggressively weedy.

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#water garden#spores#flower arrangements#aggressive#ornamentals#European#native weed#wet soils tolerant#container plant#weed#sun
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#water garden#spores#flower arrangements#aggressive#ornamentals#European#native weed#wet soils tolerant#container plant#weed#sun
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Equisetum
    Species:
    hyemale
    Family:
    Equisetaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Food, fodder, medicine, abrasive sanding compound, fiber for baskets, horse medicine
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    North America, Eurasia
    Wildlife Value:
    Host plant for some sawflies and weevils. Provides cover for a variety of wildlife.
    Play Value:
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Larval Host
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Water Plant
    Weed
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Medium
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. Reproduces by spores
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Black
    Gray/Silver
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Sheath
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves on the sterile stem are reduced to a pale gray sheath with 14 to 50 black teeth that fall off as the season progresses. Fertile stems are similar to sterile ones but have a 1-2 inch cone on top with a sharp point that contains the spores
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Jointed green stems that are hollow inside but stout.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Pond
    Riparian
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Wet Soil
    Problems:
    Weedy