Ma-huang (Ephedra sinica), packet of 20 seeds, Organic [AUS/NZ no]
Hardy to Zones 3 to 9
Perennial, primitive shrub. Native to the steppes of north and northwestern China. Rare offering of the main official species. Does well in pots. Dried stem is a natural adrenergic stimulant to the central nervous system and a bronchodilator for treating colds and asthma. The whole herb, dried and used in small doses, poses no threat to the health. However, the very young, the very old, and the pregnant mother would best avoid using this stimulating herb. Ma-huang prefers full sun and dry, sandy soils. Seed planting and germination: The seed is easy to germinate in a warm, sandy medium. Strew the seed on surface of very sandy potting soil (50% sand) and barely cover with more of the same potting soil. Tamp securely and keep evenly moist until germination, which in the greenhouse or under propagation lights should take about 11 days. If you are trying to do this outside in the garden it might take longer, as cold nights will prolong germination times. Also, planting directly in the garden is chancy and not really recommended. Basically you want to provide as much control as possible (ie plant in flats) because the seedlings are small and you need to work them up to about 4 inches before they can survive the rigors of transplant and growing outdoors. After germination, back off on the watering because the young seedlings can easily damp off–this is a desert plant. We grow the plants in a sand mulch, about 4 inches thick, in the full sun, with moderate watering. They create, in 2 or 3 years, a stubby, woody trunk bristling with the jointed stems. The flower is inconspicuous, but the fruits are quite fascinating–fleshy scales adhered together at the end of the branch, colored orange, gooey and mucilaginous, and very sweet to the taste, containing the paired seeds with their flattened sides lightly clasped together. Space plants 2 feet apart.
Organically Grown, 20 seeds/pkt.