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Equisetum telmateia - Ehrh.

Common Name Giant Horsetail
Family Equisetaceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase[172], a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex[65]. In small quantities this enzyme will do no harm to people eating an adequate diet that is rich in vitamin B, though large quantities can cause severe health problems. The enzyme is destroyed by heat or thorough drying, so cooking the plant will remove the thiaminase[172]. The plant also contains equisetic acid - see the notes on medicinal uses for more information[213].
Habitats Damp shady banks etc, to 350 metres[17].
Range Europe, including Britain, from Sweden south and east to N. Africa and W. Asia, N.W. N. America.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating  
Care
Fully Hardy Moist Soil Semi-shade Full sun
Equisetum telmateia Giant Horsetail


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Equisetum telmateia Giant Horsetail
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Summary

Equisetum species - horsetail family are Creeping, perenial, Branching rootstocks, rooted at the nodes. The Arial stems may be annual or Perennial, are cylindrical, fluted, simple or with whorled branches at the jointed nodes. The internodes are usually hollow. The Surfaces of the stems are covered with Silica. The Cones are terminal.


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Equisetum telmateia is a PERENNIAL growing to 2 m (6ft 7in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in flower in March, and the seeds ripen in April. Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It can grow in semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

Synonyms

E. maximum. auct.

Habitats

Woodland Garden Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Stem.
Edible Uses:

Strobil (the fertile shoots in spring) - raw or cooked[256]. The tough outer fibres are peeled off, or can be chewed and then discarded[256]. The vegetative shoots, produced from late spring onwards, were occasionally cleaned of their leaves, sheathing and branches and then eaten by native North American Indians, but only when very young and tightly compacted[256]. Root - cooked[257].

Medicinal Uses



Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Diuretic;  Poultice.

The plant is astringent and diuretic[257]. A decoction has been used to treat 'stoppage of urine'[257]. A poultice of the rough leaves and stems is applied to cuts and sores[257].

Other Uses

Basketry;  Fungicide;  Hair;  Liquid feed;  Polish;  Sandpaper.

The stems are very rich in silica[4]. They are used for scouring and polishing metal[1, 4, 46, 61, 99, 257] and as a fine sandpaper[54, 99, 257]. The stems are first bleached by repeated wetting and drying in the sun[74]. They can also be used as a polish for wooden floors and furniture[46, 178]. The infused stem is an effective fungicide against mildew, mint rust and blackspot on roses[14]. It also makes a good liquid feed[54]. Used as a hair rinse it can eliminate fleas, lice and mites[213]. The black roots have been used for imbrication on coiled baskets[257].

Cultivation details

Prefers a moist soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5[200]. Plants are hardy to about -30°c[200]. Plants have a deep and penetrating root system and can be invasive. If grown in the garden they are best kept in bounds by planting them in a large container which can be sunk into the ground[200].

Propagation

Spores - best collected as soon as they are ripe in the spring and surface-sown immediately on a sterile compost. Keep moist and pot up as soon as the plants are large enough to handle. Very difficult[200]. Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Equisetum arvenseField Horsetail23
Equisetum fluviatileSwamp Horsetail, Water horsetail22
Equisetum hyemaleDutch Rush, Scouringrush horsetail, Horsetail, Scouring Rush, Rough Horsetail22
Equisetum palustreMarsh Horsetail02
Equisetum pratenseMeadow Horsetail22
Equisetum sylvaticumWood Horsetail, Woodland horsetail12
Equisetum variegatumVariegated Horsetail, Variegated scouringrush, Alaskan scouringrush02

 

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Expert comment

Author

Ehrh.

Botanical References

17200

Links / References

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Readers comment

Kelly   Thu May 19 20:59:33 2005

I didnt really find this web site useful. the information is very scatterd and not correct before you put something like this on the internet for students like me to use maybe you should put more time into it!! maybe you all can send me some useful information. my e-mail is below

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Subject : Equisetum telmateia  
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