Ephedraceae Ephedra viridis

Ephedra viridis

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

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