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Dwarf Scouring Rush Equisetum scirpoides

Previously known as:

  • Equisetum hyemale var. tenellum
  • Equisetum reptans
  • Hippochaete scirpoides
Phonetic Spelling
ek-wis-SEE-tum skir-POI-deez
Description

Dwarf horsetail is an herbaceous, evergreen, non-flowering perennial in the Equisetaceae (horsetail) family.  It is native to the subarctic and temperate northern hemisphere including northern U.S., Alaska, Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Russia, China and Mongolia.   It has also been introduced into Belgium and Great Britain. It forms clumps of slender, wiry, unbranched stalks up to 1 foot tall.  The upright stems have a curly or zig-zag habit, with segmented joints where a sheath of very small, dark, scale-like leaves is arranged in a ring around each joint.  It forms both fertile and infertile shoots. This plant reproduces by means of a spore-bearing cone that forms a sharp point at the tip of fertile stems. Spores are released in early to mid-summer or in the spring after over-wintering. Plants also spread by means of rhizomes. It is found in sun or shade in moist habitats with sandy soil such as wetlands, ditches, swamps, ponds, shorelines and other shallow waters.

The genus name is from Latin equus (horse) and seta (bristle). The species name is from Latin scirpus (rush).

Native Americans have used this plant as a food source and as a scouring material, due to its rough texture. It also provides a beneficial habitat for small wildlife and grizzly bears forage on it.

 

 

 

Insects, Diseases, and Other Plant Problems: No significant problems. Spreads by rhizomes

 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#shade garden#wetlands#mass planting#pond garden#arrangements#wet soils tolerant#native#streams#part shade#containers#boggy sites
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
Tags:
#evergreen#shade garden#wetlands#mass planting#pond garden#arrangements#wet soils tolerant#native#streams#part shade#containers#boggy sites
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Equisetum
    Species:
    scirpoides
    Family:
    Equisetaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    Food
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Northern hemisphere
    Distribution:
    Northern U.S., Canada, Finland, Greenland, Norway, Russia, China, Mongolia
    Wildlife Value:
    Provides habitat for wildlife and food for aquatic animals
    Play Value:
    Textural
    Wildlife Cover/Habitat
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 0 ft. 6 in. - 1 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 1 ft. 0 in. - 4 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Perennial
    Water Plant
    Habit/Form:
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Medium
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Deep shade (Less than 2 hours to no direct sunlight)
    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:
    Frequent Standing Water
    Moist
    Occasional Flooding
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    12 inches-3 feet
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Mountains
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    4a, 4b, 5a, 5b, 6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    No fruits. Reproduces by spores that are housed in small cone-like structures on top of fertile stems
  • Flowers:
    Flower Description:
    No flowers
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Color:
    Black
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Whorled
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Width:
    < 1 inch
    Leaf Description:
    Leaves are reduced to black scale-like structures at the joints of the stems
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Cross Section:
    Angular
    Stem Form:
    Zig Zags
    Stem Surface:
    Smooth (glabrous)
    Stem Description:
    Green jointed stems with ridges
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Coastal
    Container
    Naturalized Area
    Pond
    Riparian
    Slope/Bank
    Landscape Theme:
    Native Garden
    Rain Garden
    Water Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Small groups
    Attracts:
    Reptiles
    Small Mammals
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Wet Soil