Equisetum laevigatum (Smooth Scouring Rush)
|Also known as:|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; sandy or gravelly soil; wet meadows, ditches|
|Fruiting season:||late spring, summer|
|Plant height:||1 to 4 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FACW NCNE: FACW|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
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Leaves and stems:
The sterile stem is green and usually has no branches, though short stubby branches may develop on some plants. The “leaves” are reduced to a sheath that surrounds the stem, with 10 to 32 black teeth around the top. The teeth fall off as the season progresses, leaving a thin dark ring around the top of the sheath.
Smooth Scouring Rush is one of three similar, unbranched Equisetum species in Minnesota, the others are Tall Scouring Rush (E. hyemale) and Variegated Scouring Rush (E. variegatum). In the early part of the season, E. laevigatum can be identified by the entirely black teeth; later in the season by the lack of teeth and the dark ring around the top of the sheath. E. hyemale also has black teeth but has a black band around the base of its pale gray sheath and often the tip as well. E. variegatum is further distinguished by its fewer and larger persistent teeth with distinct white edging. E. laevigatum hybridizes with E. hyemale, producing E. × ferrissii, and with E. variegatum, producing E. × nelsonii.
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Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
- Smooth Scouring Rush plants
- early season stems
- mature stems
- late season stems
- atypical branching
- Smooth Scouring Rush on sandy prairie
Photos by K. Chayka taken in Ramsey County. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka and Hennepin counties.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?