Nevada Ephedra

Scientific Name:

Ephedra nevadensis

Type:

Shrub

Habitat:

Dry, rocky slopes, woodlands, and shrublands

Range:

Northern Mexico to southeastern Oregon

Status:

Least Concern (IUCN Red List)

This species is

NATIVE

to the Truckee Meadows.

Identification:

Nevada ephedra are shrubs with broomlike, pale green stems. They grow up to 5 feet tall and have leaves that are scale-like (also known as "bracts") and often go unnoticed. Nevada ephedra leaves grow opposite each other and the plants have a reduced number of leaves to help reduce water loss. They have three-quarter-inch seed cones that grow at the plants' nodes (the spot where the leaves meet the stem).

Fast Facts:

  • There are 40 known species of ephedra across the globe. Perhaps the most well known is Ephedra sinica whose medicinal effects have been known since ancient China. It was most often used to heal respiratory ailments.

  • Here in western North America, the stems Nevada ephedra have been used to brew soothing medicinal tea.

  • Nevada ephedra is a major source of forage for native species including desert bighorn sheep, pronghorns, and mule deer.

Sources:

Contributor(s):

Emma Steer (research & content)

Alex Shahbazi (edits & page design)

Last Updated:

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