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Mormon Tea

Ephedra viridis

Out of stock

1 gallon

Plant Care

Native region:

Local Native; Mojave Desert

Water needs:



Mature size:

Growth rate:

Full Sun


Slow - Moderate

Flower color:

Flower season:




Requires little maintenance other than occasional thinning out of dead stems and those that detract from the natural symmetry of the plant.




Nectar pollinators:


Nighttime pollinators:


Rabbit resistant:


Mormon-tea is a 3 ft. spiky shrub native throughout the West. The leafless, bright green jointed stems provide a strong vertical form. Paired, bristle-tipped leaves split and fall off early leaving a leafless, broom-like shrub. Photosynthesis takes places on the stems instead of the leaves. Pollen cones and seed cones occur on separate plants. Instead of flowers, male plants produce yellow, oval-shaped pollen cones, in pairs (6 to 10) from the leaf nodes, and these have protruding appendages, topped by yellow-brown enclosures from where spores are emitted. Female plants produce greenish seed codes; these are similar in size to the pollen codes, are enclosed by several pairs of green bracts, and contain two seeds. Plant in full sun and provide excellent drainage.

Growing Plants in the Desert — Important Information

The information presented here is, to the best of my knowledge, accurate and based on my research from reliable sources, observations I have made of plants growing in my, and other gardens I have visited, and observations of the plants in their native habitats. I would appreciate your feedback and experience to help me educate others! 


Cacti: In my experience, cacti are much happier in the filtered shade here in the low desert of the Coachella Valley. Colors are more vibrant and they bloom more profusely, especially the non-native varieties. If you pay attention to how our native barrel and beavertail opuntia grow in the wild, it is frequently tucked in the rocks under creosote or another shrub.


Light Requirements: I have found that in our desert (Sonoran/Colorado) “full sun” plants can take and appreciate the late afternoon filtered sun, especially in the hot summer months.

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