Ma-huang (Ephedra sinica), packet of 20 seeds, Organic [not available to AUS/NZ]

(10 customer reviews)


Family: Ephedraceae

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 cover 1/4 inch deep 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.

20 seeds/pkt., certified organically grown

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5 out of 5 stars

10 reviews

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One review with a 5-star rating

  1. One person found this helpful

    Reliable, fun & educational


    This current batch, 4 of 5 seeds germinated in 8 days, and are now starting to grow a 3rd a 4th leaf by 3 weeks time. Of the ones that do eventually germinate, like 70% germ in 8-10 days, and the rest trickle in for weeks. I think Richo’s description might say something to that effect? I’ve done the wrong thing, situating them on the wet side of the greenhouse. While Ive not had mass dampoff, the Ephedras stunt and turn yellow for me when irrigated. I dessicate the hell outta those and they bounce back. In the wet tropics (windward Hawaii) I plant them in cinders with a bit of compost, but I need to keep them covered during 4″-per-hour rains! Ive rarely gotten fruits since I tend to eat my plants down faster than they grow! Ive been growing Strictly’s Ephedra seeds (various taxa) for myself and for clients, for at least a decade and I find them to be reliable (contrasted with other vendors’ E. seeds which are normally duds, perhaps not fresh). Fascinating gymnosperm “succulent” shrubs from an intersting time in plant evolution.
    Somebody stop me…

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