Ephedra intermedia 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Gnetopsida Ephedrales Ephedraceae

Scientific Name: Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey.
Ephedra ferganensis V.A.Nikitin
Ephedra glauca Regel
Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. ssp. glauca Stapf
Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. ssp. persica Stapf
Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. ssp. schrenkii Stapf
Ephedra intermedia Schrenk & C.A.Mey. ssp. tibetica Stapf
Ephedra microsperma V.A.Nikitin
Ephedra persica (Stapf) V.A.Nikitin
Ephedra sumlingensis P.Sharma & P.Uniyal
Ephedra tesquorum V.A.Nikitin
Ephedra tibetica (Stapf) V.A.Nikitin
Ephedra valida V.A.Nikitin
Taxonomic Notes: 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).

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-19
Assessor(s): Bell, A. & Bachman, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Lutz, M.L.
The wide range and large number of subpopulations indicates a species under no immediate threat. It is therefore listed as Least Concern. However, harvesting for medicinal purposes, mainly related to products derived from the alkaloid ephedrine, may be causing declines in some areas.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Occurs from southwestern Siberia (Russian Federation) to Iran and Himalayas and eastern China. Has a wide altitudinal range occurring from 100 m up to 4,600 m.
Countries occurrence:
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, Eastern Asian Russia, West Siberia); Tajikistan; Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan
Additional data:
Lower elevation limit (metres):100
Upper elevation limit (metres):4600
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size is not known, but it is known from a large number of subpopulations, so is presumably fairly common.
Current Population Trend:Stable
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A shrub growing in grasslands, deserts, river valleys, flood plains, sandy beaches, cliffs, other dry, sandy or rocky places (Fu et al. 2010). Often found on mountain slopes in gravelly and sandy soil; normally in arid areas. Associated with Juniper and Berberis. Flowering is from March to July and fruiting from July to August.

Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: The stems of most members of this genus contain the alkaloid ephedrine and are valuable in the treatment of asthma and many other complaints of the respiratory system (Plants for a Future 2010). Ma-huang is used in Chinese medicine for more than 5,000 years as a treatment for fever, nasal congestion, and asthma. Is also an effective respiratory sedative and cough remedy. Herbal mixtures containing Ma-huang are sold in health food stores in the West as nutritional supplements under such names as Herbal Ecstasy and Escalation accompanied by dubious claims that they have energizing value or assist in dieting. Is obtained from the dried steams (Caveney et al. 2001, Plants for a Future 2010). It is also know to have a number of other medicinal uses including: lowering blood pressure, treatment for night seating and spontaneous sweating, antiviral effects, treatment of hay fever and allergic complaints and dilation of bronchial vessels (Plants for a Future 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The plants are harvested from the wild in Pakistan for local and international use. The species contains a relatively high proportion (ca. 0.7%) of ephedrine alkaloids, although E. gerardiana is favoured in this region due to an even higher ephedrine content (1 - 2.5 %). The risk of over-harvesting should be investigated.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Samples have been collected for ex situ conservation as part of the Millennium Seed Bank project and collections are known to occur in more than 20 botanic gardens and numerous subpopulations occur within the protected area network. Monitoring of wild harvesting is recommended to better understand how this is affecting population size.

Citation: Bell, A. & Bachman, S. 2011. Ephedra intermedia. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T201664A9159437. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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