by Stephen Mifsud
   28 Sep 2023      ()
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Ephedra fragilis   (Joint-Pine)

Ephedra fragilis  (EPHEDRACEAE.) 
Images for this profile are taken from the Maltese Islands after year 2000.

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Profile Date Oct-2007 (taxon update: none)
Citation for this page Mifsud, S. (2022). Ephedra fragilis - datasheet created on Oct-2007. Retrieved from on 28-Sep-2023

Nomenclature and Basic Information

Species name :

Ephedra fragilisDesf.
Published in Fl. Atl. 2: 372 (1799)

Synonyms :
(basionym or principal syn.)

Ephedra altissima Buch
Full list of synonyms : [Euro+Med] [PlantList] [IPNI] [POWO] [Catalogue of Life] []

Plant Family :

Ephedraceae Dumortier (The Joint-Pine Family)
1 species from the Ephedraceae family is recorded from the Maltese Islands.

English name(s) :

Joint-Pine, Shrubby Horse-tail, Fragile Joint Pine

Maltese name(s) :


Status for Malta :

Indigenous. Present on the Maltese islands before man

Frequency :

Very Common     Common    Frequent     Scarce     Rare    Very rare     Extinct in the wild

Growth form :

Raunkiaer lifeform [info]: Nano-Phanerophyte ( small trees to large shrubs, usually <5 m )
Germination [info]: Dicotyledon

Legal Protection :

Protected by law: Schedule I of legal notice [S.L. 549.123] (Strictly protected tree species)

Red List (1989) :

Threatened status for the Maltese Islands and has been listed in the Red Data Book (1st ed.)

Flowering Time :

March – April

Colour of Flowers:



Not particularly toxic

Name Derivation :


Planting in rural areas :

Encouraged to be planted in the wild that is in rural areas including ODZ.

Description, Habitat and Distribution
Habitat in Europe: Data will be available in the next update of this website.
Preferred habitat in Malta: Extint in the wild but found cultivated at Argotti and the University of Malta. In Sicily it grows on rocky areas near the shore or behind sand dunes.
Botanical Description: Dioecious; more or less erect shrub to 1.5(-2) m; main branches spreading, rarely scandent; twigs readily disarticulating at nodes. Male strobilus subsessile, ovoid, with 4-8 pairs of flowers, the flowers with 4-6 microsporangia. Female strobilus stipitate, 1- or 2-flowered; peduncles 2-4 mm; innermost pair of bracts connate almost to apex. Tube of integument 0.5-1.5(-2) mm, straight. Seed or seeds concealed by bracts.
Distributional range: Mediterranean region S. Portugal.

Distributional map in Europe
and the Mediterranean region (2018):
Occurrences in Europe.
(from Flora Europaea pre year 1993):
the Balaeric Islands, Spain (incl. Andorra but excl. the Balaerics), Portugal, Sicily and/or Malta
Occurrences in Europe and the Mediterranean region.
(from Euro+Med Checklist, 2019)
  Country codes  
Ag Bl Ca Hs It Li Lu Ma Md Si Tn

Links & Further literature (0 papers)

Google Web

Google Images

Google Scholar

Research Gate




Med Checklist

Cat. of Life



World Flora Online

Plants of the World Online

Vienna Virt. Herb.

RBGE Herbarium

KEW Herbarium




Kindly Email if there are papers and publications about local studies or information about this species to be included in the list above.

Species Images (9 images)
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-0.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-1.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-2.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-3.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-4.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-5.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-6.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-7.
   Ephedra fragilis   -   Image Code: EPHFR-8.

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