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Ephedra viridis (Mormon tea)
Cressler, Alan

Ephedra viridis

Ephedra viridis Coville

Mormon Tea

Ephedraceae (Mormon-Tea Family)


USDA Symbol: epvi

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

Mormon-tea is a 3 ft. shrub with numerous yellowish-green branches. Paired, bristle-tipped leaves split and fall off early leaving a leafless, broom-like shrub. Pollen cones and seed cones occur on separate plants.


From the Image Gallery

14 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Shrub
Leaf Retention: Deciduous
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Breeding System: Flowers Unisexual , Dioecious
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: Up to about 3 feet tall.
Leaf: Green

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Yellow
Bloom Time: Mar , Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Reproductive structures consist of pollen and seed cones. Bloom color refers to cones. Bloom time refers to coning period.


USA: AZ , CA , CO , NM , NV , OR , UT , WY
Native Distribution: CA deserts & n. along e. slope of the Sierras to s.e. OR, e. to AZ & s.w. CO
Native Habitat: Deserts; dry, rocky slopes & canyon walls; 3000-7500 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Soil Description: Dry, rocky soils.


Description: Grown from seed. Seeds germinate best at alternating termperatures with quite cold nighttime temps. Seedlings grow rapidly and can be easily transplanted.
Seed Collection: On good seed years, abundant collections of seeds can be obtained by flailing the fruit branches over an open tray.
Seed Treatment: 1 month stratification gives good results.
Commercially Avail: yes

Find Seed or Plants

Find seed sources for this species at the Native Seed Network.

View propagation protocol from Native Plants Network.

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA
Native Seed Network - Corvallis, OR

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

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


Record Modified: 2023-02-08
Research By: TWC Staff

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