Ephedra. Name sounds somewhat familiar, no? How about ephedrine or pseudoephedrine? These are the active chemicals in narcotic drugs like pseudophed which help prevent coughing and induce sleeping. They are also used to manufacture Heisenberg’s methamphetamine in trailers in rural areas if the states. Don’t try going and extracting these chemicals from the wild ephedra bushes because they contain very low levels of it compared to the species from the old world.
But back to ephedra. It is a very interesting plant that grows in dry parts of the world. It grows in the desert areas of the PCT, often on hillsides. It is unusual because it is related to pine trees and ginko trees in that it is a gymnosperm. This means that it is a plant that produces seeds but doesn’t flower like angiosperms. It looks like just a yellow green bush with stems but no leaves and produces little cones.