Equisetum arvense

Family: Equisetaceae

Type of weed:

Noxious Weed Class 1. (See more noxious weeds).


An erect perennial herb with ribbed or grooved hollow stems annually to 60cm high. Stems are jointed, rather succulent with a long spore-producing cone at the tip. In spring they produce small green branchlets in whorls, (around the stem) below the cup-shaped sheaths.

Leaves are usually green but often brown on the lower stem. This plant dies back during winter.

Horsetail does not produce flowers or seed, but does produce fertile spores.

Don’t confuse with…

Horsetail can be confused with the native Clubmoss (Lycopodium lateralis).


Spreads commonly by road-making and moving of soils out of infested areas carrying rhizome or tuber (root) fragments over long distances to start new colonies. Also spreads as a result of spores dispersed by wind and water.

Impact on bushland

Horsetails are mostly found in wet areas such as the banks and edges of swamps and creeks. They can form dense clumps and produce inhibitory substances that suppress the growth of native plants.


. South Leura.

Alternative planting

Native plants

Council provides a tool, on its Mountain Landscapes website, to help you choose native alternative plantings. Choose your village, soil, vegetation community and the purpose of your planting, and the tool will give you suggestions.

There are native nurseries in several Blue Mountains villages, including Glenbrook, Lawson and Katoomba. Please also ask at your favourite local nursery.


If you have found Horsetail on your property or on public land, do not attempt to control or mow it.

Please contact Council’s Noxious Weeds Team on 4780 5000 immediately.

For more info

For key points on these techniques:

Noxious Weed Class 1

State Prohibited Weeds

Characteristics: Class 1 noxious weeds are plants that pose a potentially serious threat to primary production or the environment and are not present in the State or are present only to a limited extent.

Control objective: Prevent the introduction and establishment of those plants in NSW.

Example control requirements: These weeds must be eradicated from land and not allowed to re-establish. They are also ‘notifiable’, with a range of restrictions on their sale and movement.

NSW Noxious Weeds Act 1993

Refer to the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s Noxious and Environmental Weed Control Handbook.