Equisetum hymale

Equisetum hymale

Equisetum hymale

Common names:

Rough Horsetail
shave grass
Paddock Pipes
scouringrush horsetail
Snake Grass (South Africa)
Dutch rush

Equisetum hymale stems

Equisetum hymale stems

Origin: North America, Europe and Northern Asia

Scientific classification
Genus: Equisetum
Subgenus: E. subg. Hippochaete
Species: Equisetum hymale

Equisetum hymale in the ‘Kuro’ garden

Equisetum hymale in the ‘Kuro’ garden

Plant type: Perennial

Hardiness Zone: Zone 2

Time to maturity: 2-5 years

Soil types: Aquatic soil topped with thin layer of gravel

Aspect: Sheltered

Flower interest: Not significant

Foliage interest: Hollow, green, black ridged stems that look like reeds.

Other interest:

Foliage: Semi-evergreen

Plant width: + 0.5m

Habit: Arching & Erect

Sun light: Full sun / Partial Shade

Equisetum hymale new shoots

Equisetum hymale new shoots

Pruning: Cut off any damaged stems either when they go brown or in spring before the new shoots appear.

Cultivation: This plant likes a slightly acidic soil with a clay, loam, sand mix. It grows in wet sites and works in bog gardens, containers or water gardens.

Propagation: Plant the crown at approximately 0 - 15cm.

Pests: None of note.

Diseases: None of note.

Awards won:

Equisetum hymale with water reflection

Equisetum hymale with water reflection


Some species are poisonous to grazing animals if eaten over a prolonged period. It can cause a lack of thiamin (vitamin B1).

Works well with:

Other information

Used in contemporary design. Unlike some of its cousins it is not quite so invasive. If kept in a basket remove roots as they try and escape through the holes a couple of times a year.