The character states distinguishing Ephedra var. glauca and E. var. tibetica from typical E. intermedia may all be observed together in a single population; the species is therefore not divided here (Fu et al. 2010) as it is in The World Checklist of Selected Families (RBG Kew 2009).
Native: Afghanistan; China (Gansu, Guangdong, Guangxi, Hebei, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Shaanxi, Sichuan, Tibet [or Xizang], Xinjiang); India (Himachal Pradesh, Jammu-Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh); Iran, Islamic Republic of; Kazakhstan; Kyrgyzstan; Mongolia; Nepal; Pakistan; Russian Federation (Altay, West Siberia); Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
(From  IUCN Red List (LC) on 11.12.13)

Ephedra intermedia is found in deserts, grasslands, floodlands and river valleys, slopes and cliffs, and sandy beaches. It grows at elevations of 100–4,600 metres (330–15,100 ft), in rocky or sandy dry habitats.
The plant grows to 1 metre (3.3 ft) tall. The strobili are dioecious, either male or female on any one plant, so both male and female plants are needed for seeds.
(From Wikipedia on 11.12.13)

Ephedra intermedia vs Ephedra gerardiana:
Trying to find out the difference between the two after going through the descriptions:

 Ephedra intermedia   Ephedra gerardiana
Flora of Pakistan Shrubby plant up to 50 cm tall, branches usually many, erect to spreading, striate, minutely tuberculate, internodes straight or slightly bent. Male strobili up to 8, whorled; bracts obovate, connate; staminate column slightly exserted. Female strobili paired or in whorls. Tubillus exserted, slightly bent. Berry ovoid, red. Seeds ± 6 mm long, brownish. Plant shrubby, tufted, dense, 20‑120 cm tall. Branchlets green, ascending, striate, smooth. Male strobilus solitary or in clusters of 2‑3. Flowers 4‑8: bracts obtuse, connate. Staminal column exserted; anthers 5‑8. Female strobili solitary. Bracts 2‑3‑pairs, tubillus 1 mm long, straight. Berry 7‑8 mm long, ± ovoid, red.
Flora of China Subshrubs or shrubs to 1 m, densely branched, sometimes with creeping stem producing single, erect, green primary branches; branchlets yellowish or bluish green, often pruinose, internodes usually 2-6 cm × 1.5-3.5 mm. Leaves in whorls of 3 or opposite, connate for at least 2/3 their length. Pollen cones usually clustered at nodes, often sessilebracts in 3 or 4 pairs or whorls; anthers 5-8, sessile or shortly stipitate. Seed cones ellipsoid, ovoid, or oblong-ovoid; bracts in 2-5 pairs or whorls, outer ones connate at base, apical pair or whorl connate for ca. 1/2 their length, margins membranous, globose, red, and fleshy at maturity; integument tube long, 3-5 mm, usually spirally twisted. Seeds 2 or 3, ovoid or elongate-ovoid, 5-6 × ca. 3 mm, concealed by bracts. Pollination May-Jun, seed maturity Jul-Aug. 
Grasslands, deserts, river valleys, floodlands, sandy beaches, cliffs, other dry, sandy or rocky places; (100-)800-4600 m.
Shrubs small, to 15 cm; woody stems buried in soil, parts above ground scabrous, rarely almost smooth; branchlets directed upward, dark green, later brown, short, stout, usually with 1-3 nodes, internodes 1-1.5(-2) cm × 1.5-2 mm, longitudinally furrowed, often scabridulous. Leaves opposite, 2-3 mm, connate for ca. 2/3 their length. Pollen cones solitary or 2 at nodes, small, 2-5 × ca. 2 mm, sessile; bracts in 3 or 4(-6) pairs; staminal column exserted for ca. 1/2 its length, with 8 sessile anthers. Seed cones solitary, sessile or shortly pedunculate, subglobose at maturity, 5-7 mm in diam.; 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; integument tube short, ca. 1 mm. Seeds 1 or 2, oblong or obovoid-oblong, 4-6 × 1.5-3 mm, exserted, apex obtuse or subacuminate. Pollination Jul, seed maturity Aug-Sep.  
Dry and rocky slopes; 3700-5300 m.


Ephedra pachyclada Boiss. ??? : 3 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (3)
Sharing some pictures I guess is a Ephedra pachyclada Boiss. shot at Leh on 22 August 2016.
I don’t think it matches with Ephedra gerardiana  

Ephedra identification is often challenging- especially as most of the specimens encountered have no flowers or fruit. The joint-pines are adapted to the low-rainfall of Tibetan borderlands. The leaves are reduced to scales on the stems (helping reduce the loss of water through transpiration), which are green for photosynthesis. 

E.geradiana is understood to be the common, widespread species along the Himalaya (or more accurately, along the borderlands of Tibet).  I agree that the images do not match E.geradiana.
3 species are recorded from Ladakh: E.geradiana, E.intermedia and E.regelii according to Dickore & Klimes. Stewart records all three.
As for E.pachyclada, he states that Riedl. does not report this from Pakistan or Kashmir. However, Kitamura reported it from the Chaman Pass on the Baluchistan-Afghan border. Boiss. reported it from “W.Tibet”, probably Ladakh.
I consider the range of the species is poorly known. ‘
Fortunately, I have a much better (but far from perfect) idea about the three main species in Ladakh than I did just a few months ago but still consider myself a novice with Ephedras. The images are not of E.regelii. I currently think they most likely are within E.intermedia but will consider E.pachyclada. Can anyone say with confidence which species and how one differentiates between E.intermedia and E.pachyclada?
efloraofPakistan for Ephedra:
But how reliable is this key? Cannot make out any wart-like projections on the stems in the close-up image but cannot see the characteristics describe for E.pachyclada either…..

Comparing the images from the book from Flora of Ladakh  I guess it matches more with Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey.

Some more images from net for verification !
Attachments (3)

Attachments (1)

Ok. I just noticed this has been listed in efi site.

NSD – 6, July-2018, Ephedra intermedia : 3 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (2)- 6 Mb and 877 kb

Ephedra intermedia Schrenk& C.A.Mey.
Family: Ephedraceae
Hunder, Nubra valley, Laddakh, J&K, India. 9 June 2018


050722 JM 1: 5 images.
On way from Nubra to Pangong, in Syok valley near Syok river on 17.6.22 in Ladakh.

Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. ??

To me also appears close to Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey.
Is there a way to easily differentiate between E.intermedia and E.gerardiana ?
1 high res. image.

Attaching some close up images of flowers etc.

I feel it may be Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. as per differences at Ephedra intermedia vs Ephedra gerardiana and as per POWO and GBIF specimens unlike those of Ephedra gerardiana at POWO and GBIF specimens.
8 images- 3 high res.

Very useful medicinal plant. Many species of Ephedra are source of Ephedrine.


Ephedra gerardiana from Ladakh:
Ephedra gerardiana shrub from Nubra Valley Ladakh. Found on rocky hill
Pl validate. Height 2 feet approx.

Yes ..

I feel it may be Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. as per differences at Ephedra intermedia vs Ephedra gerardiana and as per POWO and GBIF specimens unlike those of Ephedra gerardiana at POWO and GBIF specimens.
Pl. confirm or otherwise.


I think this one is Ephedra gerardiana ??
Family: Ephedraceae,
Location: Nubra Valley, Ladakh

I think matches with images at Ephedra gerardiana

I feel it may be Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. as per differences at Ephedra intermedia vs Ephedra gerardiana and as per POWO and GBIF specimens unlike those of Ephedra gerardiana at POWO and GBIF specimens.
Pl. confirm or otherwise.


Ephedra gerardiana Wall. ex Stapf : 4 posts by 3 authors. Attachments (4)
Location: Godawari, Nepal
Altitude: 5000 ft.
Date: 10 January 2017
Nepali Names : कागचरो Kaagacharo / पुर्पुर्य Purpurya / सोमलता Somalataa

Can it be Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. as per differences at Ephedra intermedia vs Ephedra gerardiana and as per POWO and GBIF specimens unlike those of Ephedra gerardiana at POWO and GBIF specimens?
Pl. confirm or otherwise.

Yes, it should be E. intermedia Schrenk et Mey. It is widely distributed between 1000 – 5500m asl.


Ladakh– June’09?; Leh; Ladakh Wildflower Series -2 (SJ:24Jul09) – indiantreepix | Google Groups ID Required for Leh Flowers 1 – efloraofindia | Google Groups


SK 3014 04 October 2021: 6 very high res. images.
Location: Jumla, West Nepal
Altitude: 2327m.
Date: 17 August 2021
Habit : Wild
Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. ?? ??

Can be Ephedra gerardiana Wall. ex Stapf or Ephedra gerardiana var. sikkimensis Stapf also.
Unable to decipher the keys.
Pl. see GBIF specimens- onetwo, three.

Looks good !

From the growth habit, size and habitat the specimens from Surkhet look like E. intermedia to me.


Ephedra intermedia: Ule, Ladakh: 17 images- 10 high res.
In rocky sandy area near Indus, in Ule (10,000 ft.) Ladakh, on 14.6.22.


Ladakh, August 2022 :: Ephedra for ID :: ARK2022-166: 5 high res. images.
This was on the banks of the Pangong tso.
Requested to please ID.

Ephedra gerardiana Wall. ex Klotzsch & Garcke

How different would this be from E. intermedia?

https://efloraofindia.com/species/a—l/e/ephedraceae/ephedra/ephedra-intermedia !

What amazing pictures! Thanks for posting the habit photo as well.

You can check detailed differences at the link provided by …

I also think close to images at Ephedra intermedia
Pl. check differences at Ephedra intermedia vs Ephedra gerardiana

One of the differences mentioned is that the female strobili are solitary in E. gerardiana and paired or in whorls in E. intermedia.
Considering this, both my uploads, this one and the other one seem to be E. intermedia.

Ladakh, August 2022 :: Ephedra for ID :: ARK2022-156: 4 high res. images.

This was on the banks of the Shyok river en route Pangong lake at Ladakh in August 2022.
Requested to please ID the Ephedra species.

I think Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey.

Yes … !
Thank you.

I again saw this on the banks of the Pangong tso, will post that tomorrow.
Not sure whether that is E. gerardiana.

I think Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. only.


Ephedra gerardiana Wall. ex Klotzsch & Garcke: 8 high res. images.

Location: Dhorpatan, Baglung, Nepal 
Date: 31May 2023
Elevation: 2900 m.

Habit : Wild

Why not

Not sure. However, this sp. was listed in the book about Dhoratan !

Maybe … can help in its correct identification.

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