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Common (vernacular) names applied to California vascular plants

compiled by Elizabeth Painter

up to date as of May 1, 2016

Common names (also referred to as vernacular names) are applied differently at different times and places by different users. This list is compiled from many sources and is intended to be as comprehensive as possible. It is not intended to indicate which common name is correct or preferred. Please send comments about this page to Elizabeth Painter (

TaxonEphedra trifurca
Family common name(s)ephedra
Genus common name(s)ephedra; Mormon tea; Mormon-tea; Mormon's tea; Mormon's-tea; Mormons tea; Mormons-tea; Brigham tea; Brigham-tea; Brigham's tea; Brigham Young tea; Brigham Young's tea; Brigham Young weed; desert tea; desert-tea; cowboy tea; cowboy-tea; sheepherder tea; sheepherder-tea; teamster's tea; teamster's-tea; teamsters' tea; teamsters tea; miner's tea; whorehouse tea; whorehouse-tea; canyon tea; canyon-tea; joint-fir; joint fir; jointfir; joint-pine; joint pine; jointpine; guietta grass; shrubby horsetail
Species common name(s)three-forked ephedra; three-fork ephedra; threefork ephedra; long-leaved ephedra; long-leaved joint-fir; long-leaved joint fir; long-leaved jointfir; long-leafed ephedra; long-leafed joint-fir; long-leaf ephedra; long leaf ephedra; longleaf ephedra; long-leaf Mormon tea; long-leaf Mormon-tea; longleaf Mormon tea; longleaf Mormon-tea; long-leaf joint-fir; long-leaf joint fir; long-leaf jointfir; longleaf joint-fir; longleaf jointfir; Mexican-tea; Mexican Mormon tea; Mexican Mormon-tea
Common name(s) generally applied to other taxa or multiple taxadesert ephedra, desert joint-fir, desert joint fir, desert jointfir, canyon tea are applied to multiple Ephedra taxa; Mexican-tea, Mexican tea, Spanish-tea, Spanish tea, canutillo, popotillo, tepopote are applied to taxa in multiple families
Common name(s), rejectednot recommended (possibly pejorative or derogatory): squaw tea, squaw-tea
NotesMormon, Mexican are proper names, so upper case preferable
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