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Common Name:


Scientific Name:

Equisetum hyemale

Family Name:



Horsetail is an ancient plant that is sometimes used in gardens for its bold vertical form and durability. Horsetails consist of medium to dark green sparsely branched round segmented stems. Suitable for water/bog gardens where the rhizomes are constrained, can serve as a tall groundcover on difficult sites.

Plant Habit or Use:

Perennial, groundcover


sun, partial sun, shade

Flower Color:

Small black-brown corncob-like sporangiophores

Blooming Period:

Spring, summer, fall

Fruit Characteristics:

Spores, similar to that of ferns


very site responsive, 3 ft to 6 ft, rarely 9 ft


indefinte, rapidly expanding colony via rhizomes

Earth–Kind® Index:

  • Heat Tolerance: Medium Heat Tolerance
  • Water Requirements: High Water Use
  • Soil Requirements: Medium Soil Requirements
  • Pest Tolerance: High Pest Resistance
  • Fertility Requirements: Medium Fertility Requirements
Explanation of the Earth–Kind® Index breakdown

Firewise Index

Explanation of the Firewise Index numerical value

USDA Hardiness Zones:

7, 8, 9, 10, 11

Regions that intersect these hardiness zones:
Region A - Panhandle and High Plains Region B - North and Central Texas Region C - Northeast and East Texas Region D - West Texas Region E - Upper Rio Grande Region F - Hill Country and Central Coast Region G - Southeast Texas Region H - Rio Grande Valley
Click image for enlarged map of USDA Hardiness Zones

Additional Comments:

Very tough durable plant capable of existing in almost any soil, standing water to urban droughty sites. Can become very invasive.
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A Special Note about Cool Season Annuals

Cool season annuals typically are planted in the fall or early winter and flower in early spring under moderate temperatures. This group of plant materials includes: pansies, snapdragons, violas, dianthus, flowering cabbage/kale, etc. Because cool season annuals flower in the spring when conditions are mild, most have limited heat tolerance.

As a result cool season annuals do not receive a high Earth–Kind® index despite their outstanding landscape qualities.