E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Equisetum fluviatile L.
swamp horsetail (water horsetail)
Equisetaceae (Horsetail family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #88147)

E-Flora BC Static Map
Distribution of Equisetum fluviatile
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Species Information

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Perennial from a smooth, shiny, often reddish rhizome.
30-150 cm tall, 2-10 mm thick, their central cavity more than 4/5 the stem diameter, simple or with a few whorled branches, the sheaths with 12-30 narrow, dark pointed teeth.
1-2 cm long, rounded on the top.
A hybrid with E. arvense (E. x litorale Kuehl ex Rupr.) is frequent in places where both species occur.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

USDA Species Characteristics

Flower Colour:
Blooming Period:
Late Spring
Fruit/Seed characteristics:
Colour: Brown
Present over the Summer
Source:  The USDA

Habitat / Range

Shallow water at lake margins, marshes, bogs and wet ditches in the lowland, steppe and montane zones; frequent throughout BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to VA, IN, IA, NE, WY, ID and OR; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Equisetum fluviatile

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 0 887 1952
Slope Gradient (%) 0 0 76
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
20 114 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
2 6 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BAFA(1), BG(5), BWBS(42), CDF(1), CWH(26), ESSF(47), ICH(111), IDF(67), MH(2), MS(47), PP(5), SBPS(39), SBS(167)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Equisetum fluviatile var. limosum (L.) Gilbert
Equisetum limosum L.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References