Ephedra funerea Shrubland Alliance
Death Valley joint fir scrub

USDA Ecological Section Map

Summary Information

  • Primary Life FormShrub
  • Elevation800-1800 m
  • State RarityS3
  • Global RarityG3
  • DistributionUSA: CA, NV (TJM2) (USDA Plants)
  • Endemic to CaliforniaNo
  • Endemic to California Floristic Province and DesertsNo
  • Date Added2009/09/01

Characteristic Species

Ephedra funerea is dominant or co-dominant in the shrub canopy with Ambrosia dumosa, Ambrosia salsola, Amphipappus fremontii, Atriplex confertifolia, Echinocactus polycephalus, Encelia farinosa, Encelia virginensis, Ericameria teretifolia, Eriogonum fasciculatum, Eucnide urens, Ferocactus cylindraceus, Gutierrezia microcephala, Larrea tridentata, Lycium andersonii, Salazaria mexicana and Yucca schidigera.

Vegetation Layers

Shrubs < 1.5 m; canopy is sparse to intermittent. Herbaceous layer is sparse to open.

Membership Rules

  • Ephedra funerea > 30% relative cover with shrubs such as Eriogonum fasciculatum, Ericameria teretifolia, or others (Evens et al. 2014).
  • Ephedra funerea > 50% relative cover on limestone/carbonate substrate (Thomas et al. 2004).


Rocky slopes and ridges. Soils are shallow, skeletal; on nutrient-poor calcareous, granodiorite, or volcanic substrates.

Other Habitat, Alliance and Community Groupings

MCV (1995) Not treated
NVCS (2009) Not treated
Calveg Blackbush
Holland Blackbush scrub
Munz Sagebrush scrub
WHR Sagebrush
CDFW CA Code 33.275.00

National Vegetation Classification Hierarchy

Formation Class Xeromorphic Scrub and Herb Vegetation (Semi-Desert)
Formation Subclass Warm Semi-Desert Scrub and Grassland
Formation Warm Semi-Desert Scrub and Grassland
Division Sonoran and Chihuahuan Semi-Desert Scrub and Grassland
Macro Group Mojavean-Sonoran Desert Scrub
Group Mojavean upper desert scrub