Ephedra intermedia | ‘Blue Jointfir’, ‘Zhong Ma Huang’ | 25 seeds
Ephedra intermedia is an evergreen shrub of the Ephedraceae family, which is native to Afghanistan, Central Asia, China, the western Himalayas, Iran, Mongolia, Pakistan, Siberia, Tibet and Turkestan. Commonly known as the ‘Blue Jointfir’ or ‘Zhong Ma Huang’, the species is also synonymous with Ephedra ferganensis, Ephedra microsperma, Ephedra persica, Ephedra tesquorum, Ephedra tibetica and Ephedra valida.
Growing to approximately one metre to one metre and a half tall, intermedia is a dioecious species, which means that the flowers of a particular plant are either male or female, hence plants of both sexes are required if seed is to be produced. Intermedia occurs naturally at elevations of roughly 100-4,600 metres on/in cliffs, deserts, floodplains, grassland, mountain slopes, river valleys, sandy beaches and other dry, rocky or sandy habitats.
As with several other Ephedra species, intermedia has been used by humans in a number of ways. Its small (roughly seven millimetres in diameter) fruit can be eaten raw or cooked, while various parts of the plant have traditionally been used to treat ailments including allergies, asthma, hay fever, high blood pressure and night sweats.
Fairly easy to cultivate from seed in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-9, Ephedra intermedia prefers a well-drained, mildly acidic to mildly alkaline, sandy to loamy soil. Place in full sun and pot on once the individual seedlings are large enough to transplant.
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced