Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!


Plant Database

Search for native plants by scientific name, common name or family. If you are not sure what you are looking for, try the Combination Search or our Recommended Species lists.

Enter a Plant Name:
Or choose a plant family:
Ephedra trifurca (Ephedra)
Anderson, Wynn

Ephedra trifurca

Ephedra trifurca Torr. ex S. Watson

Ephedra, Mormon Tea, Longleaf Jointfir, Jointfir, Longleaf Teabush, Tea Weed, Canutillo

Ephedraceae (Mormon-Tea Family)


USDA Symbol: eptr

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

This is a 1-5 ft. shrub with yellowish-gray, erect, forked branches. Spine-tipped leaves, in groups of three, split and fall off early leaving a leafless, broom-like shrub. Cones are red-brown.


From the Image Gallery

45 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Size Notes: 1-5 ft
Leaf: Green
Size Class: 3-6 ft.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr


USA: AZ , CA , NM , TX
Native Distribution: S.w. TX to s. CA & n.w. Mex.
Native Habitat: Sandy or gravelly hill & plains; dry creek beds; scrubby areas

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
Soil pH: Alkaline (pH>7.2) , Circumneutral (pH 6.8-7.2)
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Drought Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Heat Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Gravelly or sandy soils.
Conditions Comments: Not Available


Use Wildlife: Provides cover for birds and small mammals. Nutlike seeds are taken by quail and other birds.
Conspicuous Flowers: yes

Wildflower Center Seed Bank

LBJWC-PM-1 Collected 2006-05-25 in Presidio County by Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center

1 collection(s) available in the Wildflower Center Seed Bank


Bibref 995 - Native Landscaping from El Paso to L.A. (2000) Wasowski, S. and A. Wasowski

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Additional resources

USDA: Find Ephedra trifurca in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Ephedra trifurca in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Ephedra trifurca


Record Modified: 2021-03-12
Research By: TWC Staff

Go back