All four of the southwestern deserts of the U.S.
Mesas, plains, sandy soil including dunes below 5,000 feet.
This medium-sized shrub grows up to 4 feet high and appears to have no leaves. It looks like a thicket of numerous green, jointed, leafless branches with conspicuous nodes.
It actually does have small, scale-like leaves and tiny flowers of male and female cones which bloom February through April. The fruit is a seed surrounded by 2 or 3 large scales.
There are a number of species of Mormon Tea (Ephedra genus) growing in the southwestern deserts of the U.S., including E. trifurca, E. viridis, E. torreyana, E. nevadensis and E. californica. All have been used for a variety of medicinal purposes by various peoples over the centuries.
-- A.R Royo
SEARCH THIS SITE
Past Wildflower Season Videos
click on links below
Wildflower Field Guide - find flowers by color
Click here to see current desert temperatures!
DesertUSA is a comprehensive resource about the North American deserts and Southwest destinations. Learn about desert biomes while you discover how desert plants and animals learn to adapt to the harsh desert environment. Find travel information about national parks, state parks, BLM land, and Southwest cities and towns located in or near the desert regions of the United States. Access maps and information about the Sonoran Desert, Mojave Desert, Great Basin Desert, and Chihuahuan Desert.