Ephedra L.

Ephedra is a complex genus of ca. 60 species, widely dispersed in dry areas in the Americas, Asia and the Mediterranean region. None is native in Belgium.

The genus Ephedra is increasingly grown nowadays. Contrary to Yeo (1986), who only cites Ephedra gerardiana Stapf, several taxa are offered for sale as ornamental plants, especially for dry rock gardens (see also Roloff & Bärtels 2006).

At least two distinct taxa of Ephedra have recently been recorded in coastal areas in Belgium. In the absence of female plants their identity remains somewhat doubtful.

  • Slender shrub, rarely exceeding 25 cm. Stems often procumbent, 0,7-1 mm wide. Leaves up to 2 mm long, nodes not swollen === 1. Ephedra distachya
  • Stout shrub up to 60 cm. Stems ascending to erect, oldest branches woody and furrowed, up to 3 mm wide. Leaves 2-4 mm long, nodes often obviously swollen === 2. E. saxatilis var. sikkimensis


De Koning J., Van den Broek J.W., Van de Laar H.J. & Fortgens G. (2000) Nederlandse dendrologie (13e druk). H. Veenman & zonen, Ede: 585 p.

Kakiuchi N., Mikage M., Ickert-Bond S., Maier-Stolte M. & Freitag H. (2011) A molecular phylogenetic study of the Ephedra distachya/E. sinica complex in Eurasia. Willdenowia 41: 203-215.

Liguo F., Yongfu Y. & Riedl H. (1999) Ephedra. In: C.Y. Wu & P. Raven (eds.), Flora of China, vol. 4: 97-101. Science Press, Beijing & Missouri Botanical Garden Press, St. Louis.

Roloff A. & Bärtels A. (2006) Flora der Gehölze (2e Auflage). Ulmer, Stuttgart: 844 p.

Stapf O. (1889) Die Arten der Gattung Ephedra. Denkschr. Kaiserl. Akad. Wiss., Math.-Naturwiss. Kl. 56(2): 1-112.

Stevenson D.W. (1993) Ephedraceae. In: Flora of North America Editorial Committee (eds.), Flora of North America, vol. 2. Oxford University Press, New York-Oxford: 428-434.

Yeo P.F. (1986) Ephedra. In: Walters S.M. & al. (eds.), The European Garden Flora, vol. 1: 107. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Taxonomic name: 
Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith