Ephedra sinica | ‘Chinese Ephedra’, ‘Ma Huang’ | 25 seeds
Ephedra sinica is a perennial herbaceous shrub native to north-eastern China, Mongolia and Russia. Known commonly as ‘Chinese Ephedra’ or ‘Ma Huang’, like all Ephedra, sinica is a member of the Ephedraceae family. Other informal names for the species include ‘Ask-for-trouble’ and ‘Chinese Joint Fir’. One of the oldest known components of the Chinese botanical folk apothecary (and the most important of the various Ephedra species used by that nation), Ephedra sinica is estimated to have been used in China for up to six thousand years!
Growing naturally in steep, semiarid habitats in USDA Hardiness Zones 5-11 (where it prefers an altitude of approximately one thousand five hundred metres), sinica attains an average height of thirty to forty-five centimetres – although has been known to get as high as seventy-five centimetres. It’s very similar in appearance to the other Ephedra (such as Ephedra fragilis), producing segmented, cylindrical and leafless green to brown canes and small red fruits which grow directly from the stem.
Cultivating Ephedra sinica is a fairly simple process. Sow from seed (or propagate via root cutting) into a light, sandy soil in full sun. Space roughly thirty-five centimetres apart to allow enough room for the resulting plants to reach maturity. Go on, grow a piece of human history in your own garden!
All the seed sold by Arkham’s Botanical was freshly and ethically sourced in 2018-2019