Mormon or Brigham Tea (ephedra viridis coville)
Mormon Tea, or Brigham’s tea, is a 2-4 foot shrub growing in dry, open areas from the desert up through the pinion-juniper belt. This plant is a mass of green, grayish, or yellowish stems. The leaves have been reduced to tiny opposite or whorled scales found at each node along the stem. The fruit is a small cone, related to the cones of pines and firs. Mormon Tea was named for its use by Mormon settlers, who, because of religion, would not drink coffee or tea. The hot or iced tea (made from the dried stems by steeping five minutes in boiling water) is a very good desert thirst-quencher.