Ephedra viridis var. viridis
Family: Ephedraceae – Jointfir Family
Ephedra is the only genus from this family represented at Arches National Park. Dioecious shrubs; gymnosperm; 3.9” to 4.9' (1 to 15 dm) tall
Leaves: Leaves are reduced to 2 small triangular teeth at joints; scalelike leaves are opposite or in whorls
Flowers: Gymnosperm: Male (staminate) and female (pistillate) cones on different plants
Pollinators: wind; not self-fertile
Fruits: brown paired seeds
Blooms in Arches National Park: March, April, May, June, July
Habitat in Arches National Park: desert shrub and pinyon-juniper communities
Location seen: widespread
Other: The genus name, “Ephedra”, is the Greek name used by Pliny (an author and natural philosopher) for the common mare's tail (Hippuris) which it somewhat resembles. The species name, “viridis”, means “green” and refers to the plant's overall color.
The boiled stems have been used to make a tea which can work as a decongestant. The commercial drug ephedrine comes from an Ephedra which grows in China.
Last updated: February 24, 2015