Green ephedra (Ephedra viridis) is a unique looking plant that is found throughout the basin and range region. The plants are medium sized shrubs that are woody toward the base. They are green in color, and do not have typical leaves, but rather the foliage is in the form of the green, tube-like, segmented branches. These green branches are photosynthetic, as their small, vestigial, sets of leaves are not photosynthetic. They are not flowering plants, male plants produce pollen cones at the nodes and female plants produce seed cones which are slightly larger and contain two seeds each.
Green Ephedra tends to grow at elevations between 3,000 and 7,500 ft and is prevalent along transitional zones between pinion-juniper woodlands and drier communities. Their distribution often overlaps with that of sagebrush, but is more common further south. Green ephedra is moderately palatable to all domestic livestock and many big game species, especially as winter browse.
In addition, Ephedra has historically been dried and for use as a tea.
http://www.washoecounty.us/parks/arboretum/mormonTea.htm accessed 2/23/2015
http://medplant.nmsu.edu/ephedra.html accessed 2/23/2015
http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/plants/shrub/ephvir/all.html accessed 2/23/2015
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