Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Plantae Tracheophyta Gnetopsida Ephedrales Ephedraceae

Scientific Name: Ephedra tweediana
Species Authority: C.A.Mey.
Common Name(s):
Spanish Cola de Caballo

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2010-09-23
Assessor(s): Bell, A. & Bachman, S.
Reviewer(s): Hilton-Taylor, C. & Lutz, M.L.
Known from several localities and with a wide range the species does not meet the thresholds for a threatened category under criterion B. There is insufficient information to justify a threatened rating under any other criteria, however, the habitat in which this species occurs is under some pressure from conversion of natural forest habitat to plantation forest and to agricultural areas (crops and grazing pasture). Recent collections have been made and there is good representation in protected areas so the population is believed to be Least Concern at present.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:Occurs from southern Brazil to central and northern Argentina and Uruguay. Occurs from sea level up to 1,000 m.
Countries occurrence:
Argentina (Catamarca, Córdoba, Entre Ríos, Tucumán); Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul); Uruguay
Upper elevation limit (metres):1000
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:The population size is not known.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:A climbing shrub often found in moist forests (including Mata Atlântica) and woods, generally in wetter conditions than other Ephedra in this region. Reported from hygrophilic woodland in the Esteros del Ibera region of Corrientes, Argentina.

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).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Known to be of ornamental value and cultivated for the horticultural trade. A significant process of aforestation is occurring in Uruguay at a rate of 50,000 hectares per year (FAO 2004) causing a threat to natural forest. Conversion of land for agriculture in the region is also a significant problem.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: It is known to occur in several protected areas including the Itapuã State Park and Reserva Biológica do Lami in Brazil. Recorded from nineteen botanic gardens, but there is no known seed collection for ex situ conservation.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.6. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland
suitability: Suitable  
2. Savanna -> 2.2. Savanna - Moist
suitability: Suitable  
3. Species management -> 3.4. Ex-situ conservation -> 3.4.2. Genome resource bank

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
In-Place Species Management
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.2. Wood & pulp plantations -> 2.2.2. Agro-industry plantations
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing: Ongoing    
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
1. Research -> 1.5. Threats
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends

♦  Medicine - human & veterinary
 Local : ✓   National : ✓  International : ✓ 

Bibliography [top]

FAO. 2004. Forests and the Forestry Sector - Uruguay. Available at: (Accessed: 23/09/2010).

IUCN. 2011. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2011.2). Available at: (Accessed: 10 November 2011).

Plants for a Future. 1996-2010. Plants For A Future, Earth, Plants, People. Available at:

Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. 2009. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families (WCSP). Available at:

Citation: Bell, A. & Bachman, S. 2011. Ephedra tweediana. In: The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T201683A9164193. . Downloaded on 09 October 2015.
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