Equisetum arvense

Family: Equisetaceae

Type of weed:

Priority Weed Regional Priority Weed. (See more weeds of the class.)


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.


  • Notify Council

Specific control tips for this weed

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

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

For key points on these techniques:

Regional Priority Weed

Control measures:

  • The plant should be eradicated from the land, which must be kept free of the plant.
  • The plant should be fully and continuously suppressed and destroyed.