More tea Vicar?

Klytus

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I was wondering about Bonsai from nature,specifically Mormon Tea and other Ephedra species.

The Ephedra Sinica i have growing for many years have no trunk whatsoever and yet i see Viridis,possibly Nevadensis,have a thickened woody stem on the range.

I wonder how long it takes them to grow a bole as my attempt at two species other than Sinica met with failure due to inclement weather,even overwintered in the greenhouse.

Ethnobotanical species,they have more to offer to the Bonsai enthusiast than looks alone.
 

Attila Soos

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They will make some nice accent plants. I wouldn't waste my time trying to shape them like old trees, since they don't even grow leaves.

I love the frangrant yellow flowers in the spring, the mountains behind my backyards are full of Mormon Tea. Originally, I was tempted to try making tea out of it, but then I've found out that side effects may include: seisures, irregular heartbeat, heart attack, sudden cardiac death, stroke, vomiting, profuse perspiration, and itchy scalp. So I give up the idea, mainly because of the itchy scalp. It may have some great benefits, but if the side effect is death, that may be a cause of concern.
BTW, it is also a performance-enhancing drug, back in the old days it was widely used in the brothels (may be that's why the mormons needed it more than others, in light of having 3 -4 wives....The FDA ban was challenged in Utah, but the challenge didn't succeed.)
 
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Klytus

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Hmm,i was thinking we have seen Bonsai as tree in nature,seen it close up as far away or close up as near but small.

But these Ephedra could be Distance Bonsai,seen as a Bonsai from far off.

Clip and grow i would think.

I see some species in some localities can have a yard of trunk beneath the dunes.
 

Attila Soos

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I guess you can always show it in winter silhouette, year-round. It comes down to whether or not the species interests you. If it does, it never hurts to try. The flowers are quite small, so that works well.
 

Klytus

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Do the ones you can see have much woodiness or are they like tufts?

I guess a woody would be better than a tuft.

Could be the poor man's Erythroxylon bonsai,could be the secret Bonsai of the South-west.

Maybe the world is not yet ready for the hidden bonsai gardens of the four corners area.
 
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Attila Soos

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The bushes can get quite large, up to 5 feet, and the old branches get reasonably woody. But I've never took a close look at them, as far as how to prune them to achieve short internodes. That's the main question: how do they react to frequent pruning. If they react favourably (budding back and short internodes) than there is a good chance for becoming bonsai.
Now that you mentioned it, I will probably collect an old one next spring, to play around. I just love the fragrance of the flowers.
 

Klytus

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My tufts have yet to flower,growth is weird with a fair number of elongated needle like stems drying up.

I an not sure if these shoots are predisposed to browning or not.

At Kew in London a few years ago they had a large raised bed full of Sinica with no yellowing grassy stems.

There is a controversial Pun also,Ephedra Bonsai is Gnetale mutilation!
 
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