Mormon-tea Ephedraceae Ephedra spp. L. Listen to the Latin symbol: EPHED Other Fact Sheets
Leaf: Opposite, but very few and scattered, very small (1/3 inch), scale-like, appressed against green stem and very inconspicuous.
Flower: Species is dioecious; yellow-brown, cone-like, 1/4 to 1/2 inch, occurring in small clusters at nodes, appearing in early spring.
Fruit: A small, 1/3 to 1/2 inch cone.
Twig: 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.
Bark: Gray to reddish brown becoming finely fissured.
Form: Very unique dense cluster of green twigs (broom-like) apparently lacking foliage, reaching up to 3 feet in height.
leaf flower twig bark form1 map
Additional Range Information:
Ephedra spp. is native to North America.
Range may be expanded by planting.
See states reporting Mormon-tea.
External Links:
USDAFS Additional Silvics
USDA Plants Database
© Copyright 2016, Virginia Tech
Dept. of Forest Resources
and Environmental Conservation,
all rights reserved.
Photos and text by: John Seiler,
Edward Jensen, Alex Niemiera,
and John Peterson
Virginia Tech Homepage CNRE FREC