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SPECIES: Ephedra viridis | Green Ephedra


Green ephedra has been reported to survive range fires [92]. It may also be top-killed by fire in both shrub and grass communities and pinyon-juniper woodlands, reestablishing on-site from both seed and surviving meristematic tissue [7,26,48,99]. Green ephedra has also been described as nonsprouting after fire in chaparral ecosystems of southern California[18].



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Green ephedra sometimes sprouts vigorously from the roots or woody root crown following fire [107,109]. On a pinyon-juniper woodland site, it was found to be a dominant postfire resprouter and persisted on burns after more than 78 years [98]. After a Nevada wildfire in a late seral big sagebrush community, virtually all green ephedra plants produced new stems [109]. Though green ephedra also reestablishes from seed on-site [7], this same sagebrush community had no green ephedra seedling establishment up to 4 years postburn [109].  


After late July-early August wildfires in western Nevada, green ephedra sprouted vigorously from surviving roots and root crowns. Green ephedra density and sprouting response in the next growing season was as follows [109]:

  Density (10 m2) % Sprouting
Site 1 0.02 98
Site 2 0.01 100
Site 3 0.03 100


California chaparral communities historically experienced numerous, erratically spreading, small fires resulting in a highly fragmented mosaic. As a result of fire suppression, extensive stands of mature chaparral exist in fewer and larger patches. The effects of these community changes on green ephedra have not been evaluated, though it was found to exist as a community constituent under both fire regimes [61]. 

An evaluation of plant response to various burning, grazing, and herbicide activities was conducted in a big sagebrush community in Nevada [107]. The response of green ephedra to these activities is described in the table below. Green ephedra had greatest cover on sites burned more than 10 years before and being moderately grazed; cover was lowest on unburned sites with heavy grazing.

Burned, currently moderate grazing Unburned, currently grazed 2,4D treatment, currently grazed (~2 yrs. post treatment) 2,4D and picloram, ungrazed (~2 yrs. post treatment) 2,4D, heavy grazing (10 yrs. post treatment)
<10 years postburn >10 years postburn Heavy  Moderate Light Heavy Moderate Light
200 plants/ha 300 plants/ha 0 plants/ha 100 plants/ha 200 plants/ha 100 plants/ha 100 plants/ha 200 plants/ha 200 plants/ha 200 plants/ha

Related categories for SPECIES: Ephedra viridis | Green Ephedra

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Information Courtesy: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory. Fire Effects Information System

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