Equisetum

Q: I have been given a plant that I think is called “equiseedem”. It is only bunch of tall green straws in a pot. Can you tell me something about this plant and how to care for it and what to expect in the future?

A: The real name of your plant is equisetum, commonly called scouring rush, and yours is likely the dwarf form. It is an ancient plant, representing a single living genus, a single family, a single order and a single class of plants. There is no other organism like it in the world. Dinosaurs likely munched on a ancestor of your small equisetum.

A pot is an appropriate container since scouring rush can become a weed if planted in the right spot outdoors. It has invaded many lake- and stream-sides across the country. I have a bed of Equisetum hyemale , horsetail rush, contained in a bottomless plastic garbage can I buried in my garden and filled with mucky soil. Equisetum prefers lots of light and does not do well as a houseplant. Since yours is dwarf, cut the bottom out of a three gallon black plastic pot, fill it with potting soil and bury that in your garden bed.