The green stems of Ephedra viridis at Grand Canyon National Park. Ephedra
Photo: Ephedra viridis Ephedra viridis (Mormon tea) #16781 Photo: Ephedra viridis
Common Name Mormon Tea, Indian Tea, Jointfir, Ephedra, Canutillo, Longleaf Teabush
Latin Name Ephedra trifurca or E. viridus
Family Ephedraceae
Sunset zones / USDA zones 1-2, 10-13 / 6b-11
Type / Form Shrub / Medium
Native Habitat Below 7,000 feet in the Sonoran, Mojave, Great Basin, and Chihuahuan Deserts
Soil Dry decomposed granite, sand, limestone, low organic content, well drained
Exposure Full sun
Water Once per month until established
Height X Width Maximum 15 X 15 feet, usual 4 feet X 6 feet
Protective Mechanism Spine at tip of stem
Leaves Evergreen stems, yellow green, scale leaves
Flowers Dioecious; yellow-brown, cone-like, 1/4 to 1/2 inch, occurring in small clusters at nodes, appearing in early spring.
Bark / Roots Gray to reddish brown becoming finely fissured. Most conspicuous part of the plant. It is almost entirely composed of yellow-green to blue-green twigs, branch repeatedly at nodes forming an upside down broom-like cluster.
Maintenance None
Propagation Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in the spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection in their first winter. Division in spring or autumn. Layering.
Pests and Diseases None
Landscape uses Erosion control, rock garden, low maintenance, background, parkways, specimen
Garden Suitability Songbird, Sonoran, Mountain, Ethnobotanical
Ornamental Value Texture of stems, yellow flowers on males in spring
Nature Value Cones eaten by quail and other birds and small mammals; ; browse for bighorn sheep and deer
Native American Uses Prepared as a tea for stomach and bowel disorders, for colds, fever, and headache. The dried and powdered twigs were used in poultices for burns and ointments for sores. One tribe made a decoction of the entire plant and drank it to help stop bleeding.
Links  
    Article http://www.desertusa.com/april97/du_mormontea.html
    Images and data http://www.naturesongs.com/vvplants/mormontea.html
    Images and data http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ephedra_viridis
    Images and data http://www.conifers.org/ep/ep/viridis.htm
    Images and data http://www.desert-tropicals.com/Plants/Ephedraceae/Ephedra_viridis.html
    Images and data http://davesgarden.com/guides/pf/go/67648/
    Images and data http://www.cnr.vt.edu/dendro/dendrology/syllabus2/factsheet.cfm?ID=661
    Images and data http://www.swcoloradowildflowers.com/Yellow%20Enlarged%20Photo%20Pages/ephedra.htm
    Images and data http://www.theodorepayne.org/mediawiki/index.php?title=Ephedra_viridis
    Images and data http://ucjeps.berkeley.edu/cgi-bin/get_JM_treatment.pl?184,185,194
    Images and data http://www.calflora.org/cgi-bin/species_query.cgi?where-calrecnum=2979
    Images and data http://extension.usu.edu/range/Woody/greenephedra.htm
    Images and data http://www.nps.gov/archive/arch/flowers/Families/Common_names/Ephedraceae_Ephedra_viridis20.htm
    Images and data http://www.wildflower.org/gallery/result.php?id_image=16781
    Data http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/ephvir/all.html
    Data http://www.pfaf.org/database/plants.php?Ephedra+viridis
    Images http://www.scienceviews.com/photo/library/SIA1587.html
    Distribution map http://www.swsbm.com/Maps/Ephedra_trifurca.gif
    Distribution map http://www.swsbm.com/Maps/Ephedra_viridis.gif
    Nursery, images, and data http://www.laspilitas.com/nature-of-california/plants/ephedra-viridis
    Nursery, images, and data http://www.cnplx.info/nplx/species?taxon=Ephedra+viridis
    Nursery Oak Hills Nursery, 13874 Ranchero Road, Oak Hills, 92345, 760-947-6261
Note: High pollinator, tea dangerously high in ephedra
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