alantobey/Signature Collection/Getty Images

horsetail, Credit: alantobey/Signature Collection/Getty Images


  • Two forms of growth: in spring, stiff branchless stem (10 to 20 cm in height); from summer to early fall, flexible, green, feather-like plant (10 to 80 cm in height)
  • Usually growing in large clusters


  • Clearings, open areas, in conifer and mixed-wood forests, roadsides, and disturbed areas

Harvesting Time

  • Early summer

Uses and Related Information

  • Some people use the leaves and shoots to prepare tea which is said to be useful in treating kidney stones and inflammation; this tea can also be used as a hair rise for shinier hair
  • Shoots, which contain essential nutrients, can be cooked thoroughly with other vegetables
  • The whole plant can be used as a steel wool substitute when camping because of the high levels of silica in them stem and leaves
  • Outer layers are tough and fibrous and should be removed before use
  • Because horsetail contains high levels of silica, it is said to strengthen hair, nails and bones when consumed

field horsetail, Credit: alantobey/Signature Collection/Getty ImagesCautions

  • Do not consume horsetail growing in contaminated soil, because these plants can absorb toxins from it
  • Because horsetail contains silica, the kidneys cannot process large amounts of it, consume only small amounts of this plant