• View from the Canyon Rim Trail. Photo by Jeff Kochevar

    Colorado

    National Monument Colorado

There are park alerts in effect.
show Alerts »
  • Visitor Center is OPEN 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Daily

    Alcove Nature Trail CLOSED for reconstruction until further notice.

Mormon Tea

Mormon Tea
 

Mormon Tea (Ephedra viridis)

Other Names: joint-fir, Brigham tea

Family: Ephedraceae (Ephedra Family)

Description: may grow up to 4 ft tall. Jointed stems, which may distantly resemble bamboo stems, are green and finely-grooved with no leaves. Cones and seeds appear in the spring and look like small yellow flowers. Note that this is not a true flowering plant.

Range: occurs throughout the western United States from California to Colorado, north to Oregon, and south to New Mexico and Arizona. It can be found throughout Colorado National Monument.

Did you know: as its name suggests, mormon tea can be used to make herbal tea. Following the example of native peoples of the desert southwest, early settlers of this region boiled the young stems of this plant into tea as a remedy for cold and cough. Today, we know that the "active ingredient" in mormon tea is an ephedrine-like compound commonly found in the Ephedra family. An asian relative of E. viridis known as Ephedra sinica contains an ephedrine compound used worldwide to treat cold and hay fever.

Did You Know?

Rim Rock Drive

Colorado National Monument's 23-mile Rim Rock Drive was built almost entirely using picks, shovels, and sheer muscle strength to remove massive rocks and debris. The engineering skill of Rim Rock Drive workers can be seen today in the road's tunnels and stonework. More...