Name: Field horsetail
( bottle-brush, horse pipes, mare )
Latin name: Equisetum arvense L.
Occurrence: Field horsetail is widely distributed in the UK in meadows, gardens and on wasteland. It grows strongly on arable and grassland but is a particular problem in fruit and other perennial crops, and in nursery stock. Field horsetail is a common garden weed. It flourishes on damp soil.
Horsetail has the ability to accumulate gold in its tissues as well as cadmium, copper, lead and zinc. The accumulation of silica deposits in the stems gives them a rough, abrasive texture. Extracts of field horsetail make an effective fungicide and have been used to treat blackspot on roses and rust in mint. It has herbal uses too.
The plant is toxic to sheep, cattle and horses being poisonous in both the green state and dried in hay
. The related marsh horsetail (E. palustre), a weed of wet, low-lying grassland, is also poisonous to livestock.