Ephedra L.

Greek. name for the Mares Tail, Hippuris, which it resembles.

Reed-like shrubs sometimes scrambling or occasionally tree-like. Young shoots cylindrical, ribbed. Leaves opposite, joined at the base to form a sheath around the stem. Plants mostly unisexual. Male flowers in spikes with the filaments fused into a column. Female flowers solitary or 2-3 terminal. Ovules solitary, erect with a tube-like throat projecting from the pouch-like perianth. Inner bracts become fleshy, white or red at maturity.

c. 40 species from northern temperate regions, temperate South America and tropical Asia.

Carlquist (1992).

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.

Hero image
kingdom Plantae
phylum   Tracheophyta
class    Gnetopsida
order     Ephedrales
family      Ephedraceae
Higher taxa
Subordinate taxa
species        Ephedra fragilis Desf.