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Flower - female

Torrey Ephedra, Mormon Tea, Torrey Joint-fir
Ephedra torreyana


Torrey ephedra grows from West Texas and the Panhandle to Colorado, Arizona and Nevada, on rocky hills and slopes, plains and mesas, and especially in gypsum and saline soils. It can reach 3 1/2 feet in height, and has upright stems which usually branch in threes. Young stems are smooth and green with a blue or yellow cast, and old stems are grayish, cracked, and furrowed. The inconspicuous leaves are arranged at the nodes in whorls of three, and eventually drop from the plant, leaving photosynthesis to the stems. Since Ephedras are gymnosperms, the seeds are actually tiny cones. The flowers are dioecious (male and female ones on separate plants). Torrey ephedra's flowers appear in May in whorls of 6 to 8. Like all ephedras, it is very drought tolerant, and must have sun and well-drained soil.

Plant Habit or Use: small shrub

Exposure: sun

Flower Color: yellow (male) / brown (female)

Blooming Period: spring

Fruit Characteristics: small cone

Height: 1 to 3 1/2 feet

Width: 1 to 3 1/2 feet

Plant Character: evergreen

Heat Tolerance: very high

Water Requirements:

Soil Requirements: neutral

USDA Hardiness Zone: 5

Additional Comments:

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