The Gymnosperm Database


Valid HTML 4.01 Transitional

Conservation status

Ephedra sinica

Stapf 1927

Common names

草麻黄 cao ma huang [Chinese] (Fu et al. 1999).

Taxonomic notes

Syn.: Ephedra ma-huang Liu. Two varieties, the type and Ephedra sinica var. pumila Florin 1933 (Fu et al. 1999).


"Subshrubs small, to 40 cm, sparsely branched; woody stems short or prostrate; branchlets straight or curved, sometimes slightly involute, internodes (2.5-)3-4(-5.5) cm × ca. 2 mm, shallowly furrowed. Leaves opposite, connate for 1/3-2/3 their length, free part subulate to narrowly triangular, to 5 mm, apex sharply pointed. Pollen cones sessile or pedunculate, solitary or in clusters at nodes, rarely terminal; bracts in 4 pairs, margin very narrow, membranous, apex obtuse or subacute; anthers 7 or 8, sessile or shortly stipitate. Seed cones terminal or axillary, solitary, oblong-ovoid or subglobose, ca. 8 × 6-7 mm at maturity; bracts in 4 pairs, connate for 1/2–3/4 their length, red and fleshy at maturity; integument tube 1-2 mm, straight or slightly curved. Seeds usually 2, black-red or grayish brown, concealed by or equaling bracts. Pollination May-Jun, seed maturity Aug-Sep. 2n = 28" (Fu et al. 1999).

Var. pumila differs from var. sinica "in its very low growth habit, often curved or involute branches, shorter nodes, and seed cones with only 2 or 3 pairs of bracts" (Fu et al. 1999).

Distribution and Ecology

Mongolia; China: Gansu, Hebei, Heilongjiang, Jilin, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, and Shanxi. Found on plains and mountain slopes at 700-1600 m elevation (Fu et al. 1999).

Big tree




"This species has medicinal properties" (Fu et al. 1999).




Florin. 1933. Kongl. Svenska Vetenskapsakad. Handl., ser. 3, 12: 11.

Stapf. 1927. Bull. Misc. Inform. Kew 1927: 133.

See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29