The Gymnosperm Database

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Plant showing cone-bearing branchlet and seed cones at maturity [Liu Chunrong, redrawn by Li Aili] (Fu et al. 1999, Fig. 111).

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A female flower (Ali and Qaiser 1987).

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A male flower (Ali and Qaiser 1987).

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Left to right: seed cone at maturity; apical bracts; seed; micropylar tube apex [Liu Chunrong, redrawn by Li Aili] (Fu et al. 1999, Fig. 111).


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Conservation status

Ephedra gerardiana

Wallich ex C.A. Meyer 1846

Common names

山岭麻黄 Shanling ma huang (Fu et al. 1999).

Taxonomic notes

Syn. (Ali and Qaiser 1987, Fu et al. 1999):

Type: East India Company Museum Wallich, 6048 (K) (Ali and Qaiser 1987).


Shrubs, 20-120 cm tall and up to 15 cm stem diameter. Woody stems buried in soil, parts above ground scabrous or striate, rarely almost smooth; branchlets ascending, dark green, later brown, short, stout, usually with 1-3 nodes, internodes 1-1.5(-2) cm, diameter 1.5-2 mm, longitudinally furrowed, often scabridulous. Leaves opposite, 2-3 mm long, connate for ca. 2/3 their length. Pollen cones solitary or in clusters of 2-3 at nodes, small, 2-5×2 mm, sessile; bracts in 3 or 4(-6) pairs; staminal column exserted for ca. 1/2 its length, with 5-8 sessile anthers. Flowers 4-8: bracts in 2 or 3 pairs, connate for 1/4-1/3 their length, the apical pair for ca. 2/3 their length, red and fleshy at maturity. Seed cones solitary, sessile or shortly pedunculate, subglobose at maturity, 5-7 mm in diam.; integument tube short, ca. 1 mm. Berry 7-8 mm long, $plusmn;ovoid, red. Seeds 1-2, oblong or obovoid-oblong, 4-6 × 1.5-3 mm, exserted, apex obtuse or subacuminate. Pollination Jul, seed maturity Aug-Sep. 2n = 14, 28, 56 (Ali and Qaiser 1987, Fu et al. 1999).

Distribution and Ecology

Afghanistan; China: Qinghai, Xinjiang, Xizang; N India; Nepal; Pakistan; Sikkim; Tajikstan. In China, found at 3700-5300 m elevation on dry and rocky slopes (Fu et al. 1999).

In Nepal, it occurs in the arid climate of the rain shadow areas of the Great Himalaya, where more than 300 mm of annual water deficit occurrs. Soils are strongly calcareous owing to restricted leaching and to the preponderant occurrence of limestone parent materials. Cattle grazing that selectively removes palatable plants such as grasses appears to be one of the important factors promoting the Ephedra gerardiana community (Kojima 1990).

Big tree





Vladimir Dinets (E-mail, 2004.11.14) found it in side valleys along the upper Karakoram Highway (Pakistan) from Batura Glacier to Khunjerab National Park.



Ali, S.I. and M. Qaiser (eds.). 1987. Flora of Pakistan.

Kojima, S. 1990. A geobotanical study of Ephedretum gerardianae in north central Nepal. Phytocoenologia 19(1): 93-108.

Wallich ex C. A. Meyer. 1846. Mém. Acad. Imp. Sci. Saint-Pétersbourg, sér. 6, Sci. Math., Seconde Pt. Sci. Nat. 5: 292 [Vers. Monogr. Gatt. Ephedra 102].

See also

Last Modified 2017-12-29