Large quantities of the plant can be toxic. This is because it contains the enzyme thiaminase
, a substance that can rob the body of the vitamin B complex
. 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
The plant also contains equisetic acid - see the notes on medicinal uses for more information
Roots - raw or cooked
. Caution is advised, see the notes above on toxicity.
A further report says that the peeled stems, base of the plant, root and tubers were eaten raw by the N. American Indians, the report went on to say that this may be inadvisable
There are no material uses listed for Equisetum pratense.
Horsetails have an unusual chemistry compared to most other plants
. They are rich in silica, contain several alkaloids (including nicotine) and various minerals
There are no medicinal uses listed for Equisetum pratense.
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
Division. The plants usually spread very freely when well sited and should not really need any assistance.
Practical Plants is currently lacking information on propagation instructions of Equisetum pratense. Help us fill in the blanks! Edit this page to add your knowledge.
Prefers a moist soil with a pH between 6.5 and 7.5
Plants are hardy to about -30°c.
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
Problems, pests & diseases
Associations & Interactions
There are no interactions listed for Equisetum pratense. Do you know of an interaction that should be listed here? edit this page to add it.
Polycultures & Guilds
There are no polycultures listed which include Equisetum pratense.
This table shows all the data stored for this plant.
Material uses & Functions
Native Climate Zones
Adapted Climate Zones
Native Geographical Range
Root Zone Tendancy
? 1.01.1 Schofield. J. J. Discovering Wild Plants - Alaska, W. Canada and the Northwest. ()
? Frohne. D. and Pf?nder. J. A Colour Atlas of Poisonous Plants. Wolfe ISBN 0723408394 (1984-00-00)
? Weiner. M. A. Earth Medicine, Earth Food. Ballantine Books ISBN 0-449-90589-6 (1980-00-00)
? 4.04.1 Uphof. J. C. Th. Dictionary of Economic Plants. Weinheim (1959-00-00)
? 5.05.1 Usher. G. A Dictionary of Plants Used by Man. Constable ISBN 0094579202 (1974-00-00)
? 6.06.16.2 Harrington. H. D. Edible Native Plants of the Rocky Mountains. University of New Mexico Press ISBN 0-8623-0343-9 (1967-00-00)
? 7.07.1 Yanovsky. E. Food Plants of the N. American Indians. Publication no. 237. U.S. Depf of Agriculture. ()
? 8.08.1 Moerman. D. Native American Ethnobotany Timber Press. Oregon. ISBN 0-88192-453-9 (1998-00-00)
? 9.09.19.2 Bown. D. Encyclopaedia of Herbs and their Uses. Dorling Kindersley, London. ISBN 0-7513-020-31 (1995-00-00)
? 10.010.110.210.3 Huxley. A. The New RHS Dictionary of Gardening. 1992. MacMillan Press ISBN 0-333-47494-5 (1992-00-00)
? Clapham, Tootin and Warburg. Flora of the British Isles. Cambridge University Press (1962-00-00)
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