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Jepson Interchange (more information)
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  • Up-to-date information about California vascular plants is available from the Jepson eFlora.

EPHEDRACEAE

EPHEDRA FAMILY

James R. Griffin

Shrub or tree-like, densely branched, generally dioecious
Stem generally erect, < 2 m, jointed; node conspicuous, internode > leaf; bark with irregular, longitudinal cracks, generally gray; twigs whorled, grooved, greenish and photosynthetic when young, glaucous, glabrous to scabrous, sometimes thorn-like
Leaves 2–3 per node, not green; bases ± fused into sheath, thickening with age; tips often ± deciduous
Pollen cones 1–5 per node, generally short-stalked, generally spheric; bracts generally flexible, lower sterile, upper subtending 2–8 stamen-like structures
Seed cones generally 1–3 per node, sessile or stalk < 5 mm; bracts generally flexible, lower sterile, upper enclosing 1–3 seeds
Seed spheric to cylindric, smooth or furrowed, generally angled at top, generally brown
Genera in family: 1 genus, 42 species: North America, South America, Medit, Asia
Reference: [Cutler 1939 Ann Mo Bot Gar 26:373–424]

EPHEDRA

EPHEDRA, MORMON TEA


Etymology: (Greek: Equisetum , for resemblance to those plants)

Native

E. nevadensis S. Watson


Stem < 1.3 m; twig pale green, glaucous when young, aging yellow to gray, tip not thorn-like
Leaves 2, sometimes 3 per node, 2–8 mm; bases thickened, persistent, gray
Pollen cones 1–3 per node, 4–8 mm, elliptic
Seed cones 5–11 mm, spheric; stalk 1–5 mm
Seeds generally 2, 6–9 mm, hemispheric when 2, spheric when 1, smooth
Ecology: Creosote-bush scrub, Joshua-tree woodland
Elevation: < 1100 m.
Bioregional distribution: s Sierra Nevada, East of Sierra Nevada, Desert
Distribution outside California: to Oregon, Utah
Horticultural information: DRN, DRY, SUN: 3, 7, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23.

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