Jepson eFlora: Taxon page
Vascular Plants of California
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Ephedra viridis


Higher Taxonomy
Family: EphedraceaeView Description 
Habit: Shrub; generally dioecious; taproot deep. Stem: erect, prostrate, occasionally climbing, jointed, much branched, green in youth; branchlets opposite or whorled, cylindric, longitudinally grooved; pith brown or white. Leaf: simple, 2 (each pair at right angles to adjacent pairs) or 3 per node, scale-like, +- fused at base into membranous sheath, generally ephemeral; resin canals 0. Cone: axillary (terminal), sessile or not, 1--many per node, ovoid or ellipsoid. Pollen Cone: bracts 2--3 per node, proximal sterile, distal subtending 2 basally fused bractlets subtending a stalk with 2--10(15) sessile to stalked, anther-like parts with 2 apical pores. Seed Cone: stalk 1--11(50) mm, generally straight, naked or with reduced basal bracts; distal bracts in (2)4--10 pairs or whorls, free or fused, brown or green, scarious or fleshy, subtending 2 fused leathery bractlets enclosing 1 ovule. Seed: 1--3(4) per cone (in ×-section, +- round if 1, +- semicircular if 2, +- triangular if 3, etc.), +- spheric to ellipsoid or lance-ovoid, beaked or not.
Genera In Family: 1 genus, +- 50 species: arid, semi-arid (to tropical) regions of northern Africa, Asia, Europe, North America, South America.
eFlora Treatment Author: Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond
Scientific Editor: Thomas J. Rosatti.
Genus: EphedraView DescriptionDichotomous Key

Stem: spreading to generally erect, 0.3--2(4.5) m; uppermost bud generally conic, generally not thorn-like.
Etymology: (Greek: sitting upon, from jointed stems and/or ancient name for Equisetum, also with jointed stems)
Ephedra viridis Coville
Stem: 0.5--1 m, branches erect, broom-like; twig bright- to yellow-green in youth, aging yellow; pith dark brown. Leaf: generally 2 per node, 1.5--6(13) mm; base persistent, brown, swollen in age. Pollen Cone: 1--several per node, 5--7 mm; bracts 2 per node. Seed Cone: 1--several per node, 6--10 mm, obovoid, stalk <= 4 mm, straight or curved, basal bracts reduced; distal bracts 2 per node, scarious, elliptic, fused 1/5, center yellow-green to brown, margins entire, yellow-translucent, stalk-like base 0. Seed: 2, 5--8 mm, 2 × as long as wide. Chromosomes: 2n=14,28.
Ecology: Sagebrush scrub, creosote-bush scrub, pinyon/juniper woodland; Elevation: 900--2300 m. Bioregional Distribution: s SNF, c SNH (e edge), s SNH, Teh, SnJV, SCoR, TR, SnJt, PR exc SnJt (se corner), GB, DMoj, DSon (n&e edge); Distribution Outside California: to Oregon, Colorado, Utah, New Mexico. Note: Cones present Feb--Jun.
Synonyms: Ephedra nevadensis S. Watson subvar. pluribracteata Palmer ex Stapf; Ephedra nevadensis S. Watson var. viridis (Coville) M.E. Jones
Jepson eFlora Author: Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Ephedra viridisbotanical illustration including Ephedra viridis

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Citation for this treatment: Stefanie M. Ickert-Bond 2012, Ephedra viridis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 14, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on July 14, 2024.

Ephedra viridis
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©2000 Gary A. Monroe
Ephedra viridis
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©2019 Neal Kramer
Ephedra viridis
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©2019 Neal Kramer
Ephedra viridis
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©2023 Neal Kramer
Ephedra viridis
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©2004 James M. Andre

More photos of Ephedra viridis
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Ephedra viridis:
s SNF, c SNH (e edge), s SNH, Teh, SnJV, SCoR, TR, SnJt, PR exc SnJt (se corner), GB, DMoj, DSon (n&e edge)
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map of distribution 1

(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurrence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.

View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month Flowering-Fruiting Monthly Counts

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).