Ephedra Viridis is an American species of ephedra that can be found growing in many of the dry areas of the country, including the Grand Canyon. The plant is a common site as you travel deep into the canyon and can be found growing along the trails as well as in arbitrary locations about the various outcrops in the never-ending maze of rock. Ephedra Viridis has green stems shooting upwards like modified pine needles and is very similar in appearance to E. Nevadensis. It was used medicinally by the Mormons and has adopted the name Green Mormon Tea. Its use was similar but probably more widespread than Ephedra Nevadensis. Stems of the plant can be harvested at any time with care not to take more than the plant will be able to recover from. The evergreen shrub is often grown as an ornamental or landscaping plant and features clustery yellow flowers that bloom in April to may. These eventually give way to little cones that contain two seeds each. Like other evergreens of dry climates the cones can actually be triggered to open following wildfires as a means of species preservation. There are male and female plants, and both are required in order for the plants to set seed. Ephedra Viridis is considered hardy to zone 9. This is an American species. The American species of ephedra do not contain ephedrine. Any reports that indicate otherwise are misinformed.
Growing Information: Ephedra Viridis requires a well-draining soil, preferably with a high sand content. Sow your seeds at a depth of about 1/8″-1/4″ and keep warm. Germination has a natural tendency to be a bit irregular but can begin in as early as two weeks if conditions are right. Ephedra viridis is a desert plant and so will enjoy plenty of sunlight. The soil does not necessarily need to remain dry as long as there is no standing water. Sprouts resemble grass, and may be slow to grow once started. Just remember that this is a desert plant, and as such it tends to take its time.
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