Horsetails are State prohibited weeds
State prohibited weeds are the highest category of declared noxious weeds in Victoria. By definition they are either not yet in Victoria, or are here in small numbers, where their eradication is still possible.
All sightings should be reported to Department of Economic Development, Jobs, Transport and Resources (DEDJTR) immediately by calling 136 186 or emailing email@example.com.
Why is it important to report horsetail sightings to DEDJTR?
Horsetails are among the world's worst agricultural weeds due to their invasive capabilities. They are native to the northern hemisphere including Europe, Northern America and Asia, and are now naturalised in New Zealand, Madagascar and parts of South America. Horsetails have the potential to become persistent weeds of wetlands and other low-lying areas in southern Australia.All species are thought to contain chemicals that are toxic to livestock and small fragments of the roots or stems can produce new plants. The root system, combined with the plant's ability to fragment, makes horsetails highly invasive and difficult to eradicate once well established.
How to identify horsetails:
Horsetails are prehistoric, non-woody herbaceous plants. Depending on the species, heights vary from 5 to 120 cm.
Some varieties die back to their underground parts during winter.
Stems are green, hollow and jointed with longitudinal groves.
The leaves of horsetails are reduced to form sheaths around the stem.
Spore-producing cones found at the apex, can be seen during Spring.
Click here to watch the horsetails video and learn more about horsetails identification.
What should you do if you find horsetails?
If you suspect you may have seen horsetails, please contact DEDJTR immediately. Phone 136 186, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please do not attempt to treat or dispose of alligator weed yourself. DEDJTR will treat, remove, and dispose of horsetails safely, at no cost to the land owner.
Horsetails are an ancestor of larger plants that grew 270 million years ago during the carboniferous period. They belong to the Equisetaceae family and are a relative of the fern.
Horsetails can be mistaken for restios and rushes such as zebra rush. Some restio species closely resemble horsetails, as they often have sheaths around the joints. Some rushes also look similar to horsetails, however like restios, rushes do not have nodes at the joints and the stems are quite firm, not hollow, like a horsetail stem.
Horsetails have high a silica content and are sometimes referred to as scouring rush because they were once used to clean pots and pans. Horsetails have also been used in naturopathy and in some herbal shampoos and conditioners.