Wood Horsetail - Equisetum sylvaticum


It differs from all other species of horsetail because the branches are themselves branched. The teeth of its sheaths are united into a few lobes, less than the number of grooves on the stem.

Similar Species

Beware: E. arvense can also show some branching of the branches.

Identification difficulty

Generally grows on deep, mildly acidic, often peaty soils that are kept permanently damp by flushing.

When to see it

The spores are produced in cones during April and May.

Life History

A perennial, colony-forming herb.

UK Status

Its distribution has a strong northern and western bias in Britain and has declined in other areas.

VC55 Status

Rare in Leicestershire and Rutland only having been recorded recently recorded in two locations, one being in Owston Wood. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 6 of the 617 tetrads.

It is on the local VC55 Rare Plant Register

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Leicestershire & Rutland Map


Yellow squares = NBN records (all known data)
Coloured circles = NatureSpot records: 2020+ | 2015-2019 | pre-2015

UK Map