Non-resinous shrubs. Leaves reduced, short with fused sheaths. Plants mostly unisexual. 'Flowers' produced on short axillary stalks and enclosed in 2-4 thin segments. Fruit round, of 1-2 seeds covered by 4 or rarely 2 pairs of red or yellow fleshy bracts.

1 genus of 35-45 species in arid regions of Eurasia and the Americas.

A range of medicinal purposes; as a cough medicine, antipyretic and stimulant. The extract ephedrine is sometimes used in the treatment for asthma.

Source: Spencer, R. (1995). Ephedraceae. In: Spencer, R.. Horticultural Flora of South-eastern Australia. Volume 1, Ferns, conifers & their allies. The identification of garden and cultivated plants. University of New South Wales Press.

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kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Gnetopsida
order     Ephedrales
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
genus       Ephedra L.