Ephedra fragilis | ‘Joint Pine’ | 25 seeds
Ephedra fragilis is a hardy evergreen shrub of the Ephedraceae family, native to the eastern Mediterranean region, Madeira and the Canary Islands. Commonly known as the ‘Joint Pine’, fragilis possesses several less-used synonyms (including Ephedra dissoluta, Ephedra gibraltarica and Ephedra wettsteinii) and has one currently recognised subspecies, Ephedra fragilis subsp. cossonii. As with the related Ephedra sinica, the ‘Joint Pine’ has historically been used as an ingredient of various indigenous folk medicines.
Mature Ephedra fragilis can reach up to nearly two metres in height and produces wonderfully-shaped pink flowers and small, sweet, fruit. The species is dioecious, which, in layman’s terms, means that all of its flowers are either male or female, resulting in the existence of both male and female plants which must both be grown if seed production is your ultimate goal.
Suited to cultivation between USDA Hardiness Zones 7-10, fragilis prefers dry to moist, well-drained, sandy to loamy soils with a wide pH range of acid to alkaline. Provide full sun to light shade, although be aware that it cannot handle full shade. Although fragilis tolerates both drought and lime well, it does not react positively to (more than a few degrees of) frost!
Sow the seed in a sandy compost in a greenhouse or indoors, prick out the seedlings into individual containers once they’re big enough to handle, but keep them indoors over their first winter. Transplant to larger outdoor containers or the ground after the last frost of the year. Fragilis occurs naturally in habitats such as rocky hills, outcrops and stone walls, hence makes a great complementary species to others originating from such locations. For example, why not grow some alongside a Trichocereus cactus or two?
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced