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Marsh Horsetail - Equisetum palustre

Species of Concern
Native Species

Global Rank: G5
State Rank: S3
(see State Rank Reason below)

Agency Status
MNPS Threat Rank:
C-value: 6

External Links

State Rank Reason (see State Rank above)
Equisetum palustre is known from a small number of sites in seven counties of western Montana.
  • Details on Status Ranking and Review
    Marsh Horsetail (Equisetum palustre) Conservation Status Review
    Review Date = 09/23/2016
    View State Conservation Rank Criteria
    Range Extent

    ScoreF - 20,000-200,000 sq km (~8,000-80,000 sq mi)

    Area of Occupancy

    ScoreD - 6-25 4-km2 grid cells

    Number of Populations

    ScoreB - 6 - 20

    Number of Occurrences or Percent Area with Good Viability / Ecological Integrity

    ScoreC - Few (4-12) occurrences with excellent or good viability or ecological integrity

    Environmental Specificity

    ScoreB - Narrow. Specialist or community with key requirements common

    Long-term Trend

    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown


    ScoreU - Unknown

    CommentThreats: Unknown/undetermined.

    Intrinsic Vulnerability

    ScoreC - Not intrinsically vulnerable

General Description
Plants: Rhizomatous perennials; stems annual, fertile and sterile stems similar, 5–80 cm tall, (Lesica 2012) or up to 1 m or more (McGregor et al. 1986), 1-4 mm in diameter, nearly solid with 4 to 10 ridges (Lesica 2012), branched or unbranched (FNA 1993); central cavity of stem <1/3 the stem diameter (Lesica 2012) and similar in size to the canals under the stem valleys (FNA 1993).

Branches: Usually simple (McGregor et al. 1986), whorled from nodes on upper half (Lesica 2012), spreading, hollow, with 4-6 ridges and rounded valleys; sheaths 5-10 mm (Hitchcock et al. 1969) by 2-5 mm; sheath teeth 5-10 in number, narrow and membranaceous (FNA 1993), persistent, acuminate (McGregor et al. 1986), 3-7 mm tall (Hitchcock et al. 1969), dark with hyaline margins (Lesica 2012); ridges with transverse crests of silicate tubercles (McGregor et al. 1986); first internode length of every branch shorter than that of the stem sheath subtending it (FNA 1993).

(Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Cones mature in summer (FNA 1993).

Species Range
Montana Range


Range Comments
Circumboreal, its southern extent from OR e to MN, WI, PA (Lesica 2012), and NY, Eurasia to the Himalayas, n China, Japan and Korea (FNA 1993).

(Lesica's contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

Observations in Montana Natural Heritage Program Database
Number of Observations: 73

(Click on the following maps and charts to see full sized version) Map Help and Descriptions
Relative Density



(Observations spanning multiple months or years are excluded from time charts)

Wet soil and shallow water, often in forests; valleys to montane, occasionally subalpine (Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX).

Reproductive Characteristics
Strobili: Borne on a peduncle (McGregor et al. 1986), 5–15 mm (Lesica 2012) or as long as 25 mm long (McGregor et al. 1986), deciduous, the apex blunt (Hitchcock et al. 1969).

(Lesica’s contribution adapted from Lesica 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. BRIT Press. Fort Worth, TX.)

  • Literature Cited AboveLegend:   View Online Publication
    • Britton, N. L. and A. B. Brown. 1913. An Illustrated Flora of the Northern United States, Canada, and the British Possessions. 2nd Edition in 3 Volumes. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons. B13BRI01PAUS.
    • Flora of North America Editorial Committee, eds. 1993. Flora of North America North of Mexico. Volume 2. Pteridophytes and Gymnosperms. Oxford University Press, Inc., NY. xvi + 475 pp.
    • Great Plains Flora Association (McGregor, R.L., coordinator, and T.M. Barkley, R.E. Brooks, and E.K. Schofield - eds.). 1986. Flora of the Great Plains. Lawrence, KS: Univ. Press Kansas. 1392 pp.
    • Hitchcock, C. L., A. Cronquist, M. Ownbey, and J. W. Thompson. 1969. Vascular Plants of the Pacific Northwest. Part I: Vascular Cryptogams, Gymnosperms and Monocotyledons. Seattle, WA: University of Washington Press. 914 pp.
    • Lesica, P., M.T. Lavin, and P.F. Stickney. 2012. Manual of Montana Vascular Plants. Fort Worth, TX: BRIT Press. viii + 771 p.
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Marsh Horsetail — Equisetum palustre.  Montana Field Guide.  .  Retrieved on , from