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Ephedra distachya, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Tracheophyta
Classis: Gnetopsida
Ordo: Gnetales

Familia: Ephedraceae
Genus: Ephedra
Species: Ephedra distachya
Subspecies: E. d. subsp. distachya – E. d. subsp. helvetica

Ephedra distachya L., Sp. Pl. 2: 1040 (1753).

Chaetocladus distachys (L.) J.Nelson, Pinaceae: 162 (1866).
Ephedra distachya subvar. linnaei Stapf, Denkschr. Kaiserl. Akad. Wiss., Wien. Math.-Naturwiss. Kl. 56(2): 67 (1889), nom. inval.

Ephedra Distachya Print by Otto Wilhelm Thome

Ephedra distachya, Otto Wilhelm Thome

Native distribution areas:

Middle Europe
Austria, Czechoslovakia, Hungary, Switzerland.
Southwestern Europe
Corse, France, Sardegna, Spain.
Southeastern Europe
Albania, Bulgaria, Greece, Italy, Romania, Sicilia, Turkey-in-Europe, Yugoslavia.
Eastern Europe
Krym, East European Russia, South European Russia, Ukraine.
Altay, West Siberia.
Middle Asia
Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan.
North Caucasus, Transcaucasus.
Western Asia

References: Brummitt, R.K. 2001. TDWG – World Geographical Scheme for Recording Plant Distributions, 2nd Edition
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus II: 1040. Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Ephedra distachya in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Apr 15. Reference page.
Govaerts, R. et al. 2020. Ephedra distachya in Kew Science Plants of the World online. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2020 Apr 15. Reference page.
International Plant Names Index. 2020. Ephedra distachya. Published online. Accessed: Apr 15 2020.
Tropicos.org 2020. Ephedra distachya. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 15 Apr 2020.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Ephedra distachya in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Vernacular names

English: Join, Sea Grape
italiano: Uva marina
sardu: Ua de mare

Ephedra distachya is a shrub in the family Ephedraceae that stands about 25 cm to 50 cm high. The shrub grows in many parts of the world, including southern and central Europe and western and central Asia.[2][3] Its local names include somlatha.


Ephedra distachya subsp. distachya – central + southern Europe, southwestern + central Asia
Ephedra distachya subsp. helvetica (C.A.Mey.) Asch. & Graebn. – Switzerland, France, Italy, Slovenia, Austria

Main article: Ephedra (medicine)

Ephedra distachya is used to relieve acute muscular and rheumatic pains (when it is called teamsters' tea), as a stimulant, and in the cardio tonics in Ayurveda.[citation needed] It is sometimes identified with the legendary drug soma, as described in the Avesta and the Rig Veda, the respective ancient sacred texts of the Zoroastrian and Hindu faiths.

Ephedrine, an alkaloid, is obtained from its dried branches and is used as a stimulant, often to control asthma. It was isolated from the plant by Nagayoshi Nagai in 1885. All parts of the plant contain up to 3% ephedrine.[4]


"Ephedra distachya". Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN). Agricultural Research Service (ARS), United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Retrieved 2008-04-18.
Kew World Checklist of Selected Plant Families
Altervista Flora Italiana, Efedra distachia, Ephedra distachya L.
"Meerträubel (Ephedra distachya) im GIFTPFLANZEN.COMpendium - www.giftpflanzen.com". www.giftpflanzen.com. Retrieved 2008-04-18.

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