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Boston Horsetail

Equisetum ramosissimum

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Equisetaceae (Horsetail)
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
1 metre tall
Grassland, marshes, meadows, riverbanks, seaside, waterside, wetland.
Horsetails have spores instead of flowers.
The spores ripen in August and September. They are produced inside a terminal cone (strobilus).
An evergreen perennial plant, sometimes overwintering. The branches are in whorls around the hollow stems. The green sheaths turn brown with time and they each have a black band at their base. The sharply pointed teeth of the sheath are blackish with pale margins.
Other Names:
Branched Horsetail, Branching Scouring-rush, Branchy Horsetail.
Frequency (UK):
Rarely seen  

Other Information


Equisetum ramosissimum, commonly known as branchy horsetail or branching scouring-rush, is a perennial herb in the Equisetaceae family. It is native to North America and can be found in damp habitats such as stream banks, marshes, and wet meadows. The plant has green, jointed stems that resemble those of a horse's tail, and it reproduces both sexually and asexually. The stems are much branched, hence the name. It has been used for medicinal purposes, including as a diuretic and to stop bleeding. It can also be used as a source of silica and has been used to clean or polish metal and other surfaces.


Boston Horsetail, or Equisetum ramosissimum, is a fascinating plant that has been around for millions of years. It belongs to the Equisetaceae family, which is a group of vascular plants that have been around since the Paleozoic era. Boston Horsetail is native to North America and can be found in wetlands, meadows, and swamps. It is a unique plant that has many interesting features and uses.


Boston Horsetail is a perennial plant that can grow up to 3 feet tall. It has a unique appearance, with green stems that are jointed and hollow. The stems are ribbed and have a rough texture. The plant has no leaves or flowers but has small brown cones that grow on the ends of the stems in the spring and summer. The cones release spores that allow the plant to reproduce.


Boston Horsetail has been used for medicinal purposes for centuries. Native American tribes used the plant to treat kidney and bladder problems, arthritis, and wounds. It has also been used to treat infections, inflammation, and as a diuretic.

The plant is also used in landscaping and gardening. It is a popular plant for water gardens and can be grown in containers or planted in the ground. It is a low-maintenance plant that requires little water and can tolerate a wide range of soil types.

Ecological Importance

Boston Horsetail is an important plant for wetland ecosystems. It provides habitat for a variety of insects, birds, and other animals. The plant also helps to stabilize the soil and prevent erosion in wetland areas. It is also known to absorb heavy metals and other pollutants from the soil, which helps to improve water quality.


While Boston Horsetail is not currently listed as endangered, it is considered to be a species of concern in some areas. Wetland habitat loss and degradation, as well as the introduction of non-native species, are the main threats to the plant's survival. Conservation efforts are needed to protect and preserve wetland habitats and the species that depend on them.

In conclusion, Boston Horsetail is a unique and fascinating plant with many interesting features and uses. Its importance to wetland ecosystems and its medicinal properties make it a valuable plant to both humans and the environment. As we continue to learn more about the importance of wetlands and their role in our ecosystems, we must also work to protect and preserve the species that depend on them, including Boston Horsetail.

Distribution Map

Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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