"Shrubs erect, 0.5-5 m. Bark gray, cracked and irregularly fissured. Branches alternate or whorled, rigid, angle of divergence about 30°. Twigs pale green, becoming yellow, then gray with age, glaucous, with numerous very fine longitudinal grooves; internodes 3-10 cm. Terminal buds spinelike, to 10 mm. Leaves in whorls of 3, 5-15 mm, connate to 1/2-3/4 their length; bases becoming gray and shredded with age; apex spinose. Pollen cones 1-several at node, obovoid, 6-10 mm, on short, scaly peduncles; bracts in 8-12 whorls of 3, reddish brown, obovate, slightly clawed, 3-4 × 2-3 mm, membranous; bracteoles nearly equaling bracts; sporangiophores 4-5 mm, exserted to 1/4 their length, with 4-5 short-stalked microsporangia. Seed cones 1-several at node, obovoid, 10-15 mm, on short, scaly peduncles (rarely sessile); bracts in 6-9 whorls of 3, circular, 8-12 × 8-12 mm, papery, translucent with reddish brown center and base, base clawed, margins entire. Seeds 1(-3), ellipsoid, 8-15 × 1.5-3 mm, light brown, smooth. Coning late winter-early spring" (Stevenson 1993).
USA: California, Arizona, New Mexico & Texas; Mexico: Baja California Norte, Chihuahua, Coahuila, Sonora (Stevenson 1993). Found on "[d]ry rocky slopes to flat sandy areas; 500-2000 m." (Stevenson 1993).
Jaeger (1969) indicates it is rare, at least in the western part of its range, but may be found in the Superstition Mountains (AZ) and Los Algodones dunes (near Yuma, AZ).
Land, W. J. G. 1907. Fertilization and embryogeny in Ephedra trifurca. Botanical Gazette 44:273-292.
Last Modified 2012-11-23