Great Horsetail - Equisetum telmateia


    Our largest horsetail. It has ivory white, brittle, smooth sterile stems up to 200 cm. The central stem cavity is one third to half the stem's diameter. Branches are very long (to 20 cm) and numerous with 20 to 40 at each node. Fertile stems are also ivory white and quite thick with cones reaching 4 to 8 cm.

    Identification difficulty

    Spring lines where lime rich water emerges, wet woodlands, marshes etc.

    When to see it

    Fertile cones ripe in April, sterile stems present May to October.

    Life History


    UK Status

    Fairly frequent in England and Wales but scarcer in Scotland.

    VC55 Status

    Occasional in Leicestershire and Rutland but sometimes quite abundant where it does occur. In the 1979 Flora survey of Leicestershire it was found in 75 of the 617 tetrads.

    Leicestershire & Rutland Map

    MAP KEY:

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

    UK Map