Water horsetail is a perennial herbaceous plant that reaches 50-150 centimeters in height. Its upright stems are jointed, hollow and deep green. The tawny spore cones are located at the top of the stems. The spores ripen in June-July which causes the cones to turn black. Usually water horsetail is branchless but at nutrient-rich sites it can grow branches. The species often forms large colonies.
The habitats of water horsetail include the shallow shore waters of lakes and rivers, wet peatlands, trenches and alluvial meadows. Its area of distribution covers Europe excluding its southern parts, Asia all the way to southern Siberia and the central and northern parts of North America.
At one time water horsetail was an important fodder plant - the stems were fed to cows and rhizomes to swine. Also wild animals like muskrats (Ondatra zibethicus), elk (Alces alces) and swans (Cygnus cygnus) consume it. Water horsetails have also been used as brushes due to its coarseness caused by high silica content. Just like other horsetail species, water horsetail has been used as medicinal herb.
As a least concern species water horsetail requires no conservation measures to secure its occurrence.
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