Ephedra minima Hao.
Subshrubs small, to 15 cm, often with creeping runners; woody stems short, 1-5 cm, much branched, nodes knotted; green branchlets ± spreading, usually slightly curved, slender, internodes short, slender, 1-2(-3) cm × ca. 1 mm. Leaves opposite, 1.5-3.5 mm, connate for 1/3-2/3 their length, free part shortly triangular, apex blunt or pointed. Pollen cones 2 or 3 and sessile or subsessile at nodes, rarely solitary at apex of branchlets, 3-4 × 2-4 mm; bracts in 2 or 3(or 4?) pairs, connate for ca. 1/2 their length; staminal column ca. 2 mm, exserted, with 6-8 sessile anthers. Seed cones solitary or opposite at nodes, sessile or shortly pedunculate, ovoid to oblong-ovoid at maturity, 6-9 × 5-8 mm; bracts in 2 or 3 pairs, apical pair connate for ca. 1/2 their length, red and fleshy at maturity; integument tube 1.5-2 mm, twisted, curved, or straight often in same plant. Seeds 1(or 2), 3.5-6 × 2.5-3 mm, usually not exserted. Pollination Jun, seed maturity Aug.
Rocky slopes, dry places; 1400-4800 m. Gansu, Hebei, Nei Mongol, Qinghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang, Xizang [Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Russia]