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

Introduction to Vascular Plants


© Bryan Kelly-McArthur     (Photo ID #88147)


E-Flora BC Static Map

Distribution of Equisetum fluviatile
Click here to view the full interactive map and legend

Species Information

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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.

USDA Species Characteristics

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


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)
887 0 1952
Slope Gradient (%)
0 0 76

Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]

114 20 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
6 2 8
Modal Nutrient Regime
# 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)

Habitat and 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.

SourceThe Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Equisetum fluviatile var. limosum (L.) Gilbert
Equisetum limosum L.