Ephedra sinensis
“Ma Huang”
(syn. Ephedra sinica)

Ephedra sinensis “Ma Huang” (syn. Ephedra sinica)

photo: Danielle Ackley

You probably know this plant, but you’ve probably never seen it in person, or considered its potential in the garden! In fact, this interesting medicinal shrub is a worthy addition to the dry garden, with its unique foliage & overall texture. The jointed, leafless stems are horsetail-like & a nice foil for plants with bolder forms, like Agaves or Aloes. And the red, fleshy fruits add interest to the plant. You’ll want to plant it where the soil is free draining & dry. A gravel top dress is advisable. Slow growing to 6’ high, & 3’ wide. Cut & dry stems to use as a mildly stimulating tea. When used sparingly, the effects are good for colds or asthma & not dangerous to your health or heart. Be smart & don’t overdo it! This form of Ephedra sinensis is from Nepal.

Claire Woods

Full Sun
Low water

USDA Zones 6-10