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

Equisetum palustre L.
marsh horsetail
Equisetaceae (Horsetail family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Bryan Kelly-McArthur  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #76910)

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

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Perennial from a smooth rhizome.
10-60 cm tall, 1-3 mm thick, their central cavitiy less than 1/2 the stem diameter, unbranched or branched with irregular whorls; the sheaths with 5-10 dark teeth with whitish papery margins; branches (when present) in irregular whorls, with 4-6 blunt ridges, their first internodes shorter than the corresponding sheaths.
1-3 cm long, rounded at the tip.
A hybrid with E. telmateia (E. x font-queri Rothm.) occurs rarely in BC (Cody & Britton 1989).

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Marshes, swamps, stream banks and wet forests from the lowland and steppe to montane zones; infrequent in BC; circumpolar, N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to VT, CT, MI, IL, MN, ND, MT, ID and CA; Eurasia.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Equisetum palustre

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) 1 978 1841
Slope Gradient (%) 0 5 100
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 225 355
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
4 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(4), BWBS(17), CWH(12), ESSF(15), ICH(25), IDF(7), MH(15), MS(9), PP(1), SBPS(5), SBS(24), SWB(2)


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 palustre var. americanum Victorin
Equisetum palustre var. simplicissimum A. Braun

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References