- any of various plants of the genus Ephedra, growing in dry regions and having branching stems with dry scalelike leaves.
- any gymnosperm shrub of the genus Ephedra, of warm regions of America and Eurasia: the source of ephedrine: family Ephedraceae, phylum Gnetophyta
genus of low, branchy desert shrubs, 1914, from Modern Latin (1737) from Greek ephedra, a name given by Pliny to the horsetail, literally “sitting upon,” from fem. of ephedros, from epi “on” (see epi-) + hedra “seat, base, chair, face of a geometric solid” (see sedentary). The reason for the name is not known.