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Ephedra distachya - L.

Common Name Sea Grape, Jointfir
Family Ephedraceae
USDA hardiness 5-9
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Semi-desert and desert regions and on gritty slopes on the Russian steppes[74]. Grasslands, sandy places and rocky mountain slopes below 900 metres in China[266].
Range S. Europe to N. Asia.
Edibility Rating    (2 of 5)
Other Uses    (0 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (4 of 5)
Care
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full sun
Ephedra distachya Sea Grape, Jointfir


http://www.biolib.de/
Ephedra distachya Sea Grape, Jointfir
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/User:Daderot

 

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Summary


Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of shrub
Ephedra distachya is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1 m (3ft 3in) by 1 m (3ft 3in).
It is hardy to zone (UK) 6. It is in leaf all year, in flower in July. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). . The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map

Synonyms

Habitats

 Ground Cover; Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit
Edible Uses:

Fruit - raw[2, 105, 177]. A sweet but rather insipid flavour[K]. The fruit is about 6mm in diameter[200].

Medicinal Uses

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Antiasthmatic  Antispasmodic  Antitussive  Antiviral  Diaphoretic  Diuretic  Febrifuge  Miscellany  
Nervine  Tonic  Vasoconstrictor

Members of this genus contain various medicinally active alkaloids (but notably ephedrine) and they are widely used in preparations for the treatment of asthma and catarrh[238]. The whole plant can be used at much lower concentrations than the isolated constituents - unlike using the isolated ephedrine, using the whole plant rarely gives rise to side-effects[254]. The plant also has antiviral effects, particularly against influenza[238]. The stems are a pungent, bitter, warm herb that dilates the bronchial vessels whilst stimulating the heart and central nervous system[238]. The stems are also antitussive, diuretic, diaphoretic, febrifuge, hypertensive, nervine, tonic and vasoconstrictor[4, 21, 174, 238]. They are used internally in the treatment of asthma, hay fever and allergic complaints[238]. They are also combined with a number of other herbs and used in treating a wide range of complaints238]. This herb should be used with great caution, preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner[238]. It should not be prescribed to patients who are taking monoamine oxidase inhibitors, or suffering from high blood pressure, hyperthyroidism or glaucoma[238]. Ephedrine is seen as a performance-boosting herb and, as such, is a forbidden substance in many sporting events such as athletics[K]. The stems can be harvested at any time of the year and are dried for later use[238].

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Other Uses

Miscellany

Plants can be used for ground cover, spaced about 60cm apart each way[208].

Special Uses

Ground cover

Cultivation details

Requires a well-drained loamy soil and a sunny position[11]. Established plants are drought resistant and are also lime tolerant[200]. Plants are hardy to at least -15°c[200]. This species does not flower or fruit well in Britain[11]. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

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Plants For A Future have a number of books available in paperback and digital form. Book titles include Edible Plants, Edible Perennials, Edible Trees, and Woodland Gardening. Our new book to be released soon is Edible Shrubs.

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Propagation

Seed - best sown as soon as it is ripe in the autumn in a greenhouse[200]. It can also be sown in spring in a greenhouse in a sandy compost[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots as soon as they are large enough to handle and grow them on for at least their first winter in a greenhouse. Plant out in the spring or early summer after the last expected frosts and give some protection in their first winter[K]. Division in spring or autumn[238]. Layering.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Ephedra altissimaHigh-climbing jointfirShrub0.0 0-0  LMNDM13 
Ephedra americana andina Shrub1.8 5-9  LMNDM23 
Ephedra ciliata Shrub0.2 -  LMNDM13 
Ephedra equisetinaMuzei Ma Huang, Ma huangShrub1.5 0-0  LMNDM14 
Ephedra fragilis Shrub1.8 7-10  LMNDM24 
Ephedra gerardianaMa Huang, Gerard jointfirShrub0.6 6-9  LMNDM24 
Ephedra intermediaZhong Ma HuangShrub1.0 5-9  LMNDM14 
Ephedra majorMa HuangShrub2.0 5-9  LMNDM14 
Ephedra nevadensisMormon Tea, Nevada jointfirShrub1.2 5-9  LMNDM330
Ephedra pachyclada Shrub0.0 -  LMNDM23 
Ephedra sinicaMa Huang, Chinese ephedraShrub0.4 0-0  LMNDM14 
Ephedra torreyanaMexican Tea, Torrey's jointfirShrub1.0 0-0  LMNDM23 
Ephedra triandra Shrub0.0 -  LMNDM13 
Ephedra trifurcaLongleaf JointfirShrub2.0 -  LMNDM12 
Ephedra viridisMormon Tea, Brigham Tea, Long Leaf Ephedra, Mountain Joint Fir, Mormon Tea, EphedraShrub1.8 6-11  LMNDM23 

 

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Botanical References

1174200

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