Ephedra ferganensis V. Nikitin; E. glauca Regel; E. intermedia var. glauca (Regel) Stapf; E. intermedia var. persica Stapf; E. intermedia var. schrenkii Stapf; E. intermedia var. tibetica Stapf; E. microsperma V. Nikitin; E. persica (Stapf) V. Nikitin; E. tesquorum V. Nikitin; E. tibetica (Stapf) V. Nikitin; E. valida V. Nikitin.
Subshrubs or shrubs to 1 m, densely branched, sometimes with creeping stem producing single, erect, green primary branches; branchlets yellowish or bluish green, often pruinose, internodes usually 2-6 cm × 1.5-3.5 mm. Leaves in whorls of 3 or opposite, connate for at least 2/3 their length. Pollen cones usually clustered at nodes, often sessile; bracts in 3 or 4 pairs or whorls; anthers 5-8, sessile or shortly stipitate. Seed cones ellipsoid, ovoid, or oblong-ovoid; bracts in 2-5 pairs or whorls, outer ones connate at base, apical pair or whorl connate for ca. 1/2 their length, margins membranous, globose, red, and fleshy at maturity; integument tube long, 3-5 mm, usually spirally twisted. Seeds 2 or 3, ovoid or elongate-ovoid, 5-6 × ca. 3 mm, concealed by bracts. Pollination May-Jun, seed maturity Jul-Aug. 2n = 14*, 28*.
Grasslands, deserts, river valleys, floodlands, sandy beaches, cliffs, other dry, sandy or rocky places; (100-)800-4600 m. Gansu, Hebei, Liaoning, Nei Mongol, Ningxia, Qinghai, Shaanxi, Shandong, Shanxi, Xinjiang, Xizang [Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan; SW Asia]
The character states distinguishing var. glauca and var. tibetica from typical Ephedra intermedia may all be observed together in a single population; the species is therefore not divided here.
This species has medicinal properties.