About 30 tropical species of small trees or climbing plants with opposite leathery leaves like those of the flowering plants. Flowers in whorls protected by fused bracts. Seed with a hard seed coat and fleshy covering. Only grown in botanical gardens for their botanical interest.
1 genus, c.30 spp of tropical America, W Africa and tropical Asia.
Throughout the tropics the starchy seeds are cooked and eaten. In Asia the shoots are sometimes used to make string.
Source: (1995). Ephedraceae. In: . 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.