Ephedra viridis Mormon Tea

Mormon Tea is the local name for Ephedra viridis, this distinctive native shrub. The leaves are deciduous and so tiny they go unnoticed. The species is related to conifers, so it technically doesn’t bear flowers or fruits. But in spring it will be covered with tiny yellow flowers, followed by tiny, little cones that produce seeds. In the cultivated landscape, the fascination with ephedra is the broom-like evergreen stems. Ephedra is interesting year round, it is a very drought tolerant and  care free plant so it scores high on xeriscape plant lists. It almost never need pruning, but does best in well drained soil or dry clay soils. Use Ephedra with gray colored shrubs like sagebrush, rabbitbrush and Gambel Oak, because the dark green stems compliment the grays and tans of desert landscapes.

Growth rate: Medium

Height:  3ft-4ft

Width: 3ft and spreading

Full sun-tolerates a little shade

Low water

Average soil

Zone: 3-6