Ephedra viridis

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Ephedra viridis
Ephedra viridis 2.jpg
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Gnetophyta
Class: Gnetopsida
Order: Ephedrales
Family: Ephedraceae
Genus: Ephedra
E. viridis
Binomial name
Ephedra viridis

Ephedra viridis, known by the common names green Mormon tea, green ephedra, and Indian tea, is a species of Ephedra. It is indigenous to the Western United States, where it is a member of varied scrub, woodland, desert, and open habitats. It grows at 900–2,300 metres (3,000–7,500 ft) elevations.


The Ephedra viridis shrub is woody below, topped with many dense clusters of erect bright green twigs. They may yellow somewhat with age.

Nodes along the twigs are marked by the tiny pairs of vestigial leaves, which start out reddish but soon dry to brown or black. Since the leaves are no longer functional, the stems are green and photosynthetic.[2]

Male plants produce pollen cones at the nodes, each under a centimeter long with protruding yellowish sporangiophores. Female plants produce seed cones which are slightly larger and contain two seeds each.


The drug ephedrine, an antidepressant and decongestant, is made from this and other Ephedra species. A tea can be made by boiling the stems,[2] explaining the common name "green Mormon tea".


  1. ^ "Ephedra viridis". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-04-17.
  2. ^ a b Laird R. Blackwell (2002), Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierra and adjacent Mojave Desert and Great Basin, Lone Pine Publishing, ISBN 1-55105-281-4

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