Ephedra fragilis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Ephedra fragilis
Species Authority: Desf.
Common Name(s):
English Joint Pine
Ephedra dissoluta Webb & Berthel.
Ephedra fragilis Desf. subspecies dissoluta (Webb & Berthel.) Trab
Ephedra gibraltarica Boiss.
Ephedra wettsteinii Buxb.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-17
Assessor(s): Bell, A. & Bachman, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Lutz, M.L.
This species has a large Macaronesian and Mediterranean distribution, occurs in protected areas, has been collected recently and does not appear to be in decline from any threatening processes at present. It is therefore listed as Least Concern.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: E. fragilis has a Macaronesian and Mediterranean distribution. It occurs from sea level up to 300 m.
Algeria; Italy (Italy (mainland), Sicilia); Jordan; Libya; Morocco; Palestinian Territory, Occupied; Portugal (Madeira, Portugal (mainland)); Spain (Baleares, Canary Is., Spain (mainland)); Tunisia; Western Sahara
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population size is not known, but it has been reported as being very common on the Balearic islands.
Population Trend: Stable

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: A shrub, found growing in rocky arid areas, limestone cliffs, coastal dunes, rocky slopes, sandy areas, near sea or roadside. Flowers from March to May. Seeds are thought to be dispersed by animal consumption.
Systems: Terrestrial

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). Other medicinal uses include antiviral affects, in particular against influenza, and it can be combined with other herbs to treat a wider range of issues. It is advised that E. fragilis be used with great caution, preferably under the supervision of a qualified practitioner (Plants for a Future 2010).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There are no major threats at present aside from general disturbance from human activities.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: There are many occurrences of this species in botanic gardens and an ex situ seed collection has been made as part of the Millennium Seed Bank project. It has previously been noted in the Red List of Malta and rated as Near Threatened in the Croatian Red list under subsp. campylopoda, however, this subspecies is now recognized as a synonym of E. foeminea Forssk. The distribution range intersects several protected areas.

Citation: Bell, A. & Bachman, S. 2011. Ephedra fragilis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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