Equisetum Hyemale var. affine - Scouring Rush or Rough Horsetail

Family: Equisetuaceae
Wetland Indictor Status: FACW

General Species Description

A common, stout, evergreen perennial. This unbranched species is monomorphic, with all stems alike. Hollow, blue-green, to 1.5 meters tall. Sheaths green to ashen gray, with black bands and dark teeth. The creeping rhizomes can be found deep beneath the ground. .






Short, sharp pointed cones approximately 2.5 cm in length. If the cone is broken off the plant may occasionally branch at the top node.


Equisetum hyemale (scouring rush) can be found in moist to wet sites, such as forested wetlands, roadside ditches, along major streams and rivers, open sandbars, and disturbed habitats. Low to mid elevations.


Uncommon north of 51 N. Found through Northwest Oregon.

Similar Species


Ecological Value

Often planted in restored or created wetlands and in drainage swales.

Human Value

The cell walls of the Equisetum contain silica dioxide. This species was widely used as a scouring implement by Northwestern Native Americans. The Tlingit and Coast Salish decorated their baskets with the rhizomes.


Pojar, J. and MacKinnon, A., Plants of the Pacific Northwest Coast, 1994. Cooke, S.S., A Field Guide to the Common Wetland Plants of Western Washington and Northwestern Oregon, 1997.

This page was created by: Michelle Michaud, August 1999

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