Ephedra viridis

MRO93001 at UConnVM.UConn.Edu MRO93001 at UConnVM.UConn.Edu
Thu Mar 2 11:17:17 EST 1995

In article <1995Feb20.193930.1 at lumo>
Erkki.Aalto at Helsinki.FI writes:
>Does anyone know anything about Ephedra viridis? Where is it native to?
  It's a common shrub at higher elevations in the Southwestern U.S.  It seems
to prefer gravelly slopes.  I would imagine that it is fairly cold hardy, but
I haven't tried growing it myself.
  Some botanical info for those who care:  The genus Ephedra is widespread,
growing in deserts, semideserts, and prairies/steppes in North and South
America, Northern Africa, and Eurasia.  It is one of three genera in the
Gnetales, a small group of non-flowering seed plants.  The Gnetales are usually
considered to be the living gymnosperm group closest to the angiosperms:  they
have vessel element-like conducting elements, and some have bisexual, flower-
like reproductive shoots.  In addition, some species of Ephedra show double
fertilization (however, the second fertilization gives rise to more embryos,
not endosperm tissue as seen in  flowering plants).  Ephedra is the original
source of the drug ephedrine, which is a widely used decongestant (it's made
synthetically these days).  The other genera in the Gnetales are Gnetum, which
are tropical vines, and Welwitschia, a truly bizzare plant endemic to the
coastal deserts of Southwestern Africa.

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