Horsetail is a magnificent aquatic plant to add along the edge of your pond. Its botanical name, Equisetum, translates to equis (horse) and setrum (tail). The plant is easily identified by its coarse, jointed, and hollow stems. Kids love to pull the stems apart at the joints, and the pieces can be used as beads to make a fun, all-natural necklace.
Horsetail was a major part of the vegetation during prehistoric times, and is said to have been the size of trees, making up huge horsetail forests. The species we see today growing in our ponds are obviously much smaller.
The plants cells, especially the outer skin, contain silica and other minerals. E. hyemale contains so much silica that bunches of the stem have been used for polishing metal, hence one of the popular names, scouring rush.
While it has not been commonly accepted into traditional medicine, herbalists believe that horsetail works as a diuretic. They also believe that applied externally, horsetail can be helpful in treating minor burns, fractures, rheumatic conditions, sprains, and poorly healing wounds.
Horsetail divides by underwater rhizomes. Common horsetail (Equisteum hyemale) grows to 24 inches in height and the dwarf horsetail (Equisetum scirpoides) grows to a diminutive 8 inches. All do well in regions as cold as Zone 4.
Article and photos submitted by Aquascape, Inc.