Common name: Joint Fir
Ephedra andina belongs to a genus of great botanical interest, providing a link between conifers and angiosperms. In the Ephedraceae family.
The plant division Gnetophyta poses interesting flowering plant development hypotheses. Extant (living) Gnetophyta comprise some 70 species across the three genera Gnetum (family Gnetaceae), Welwitschia (family Welwitschiaceae), and Ephedra (family Ephedraceae). The exact link between gymnosperms (conifers in Erica’s notes) and angiosperms (flowering plants) is under debate. Recent research by Lee EK, Cibrian-Jaramillo A, et al. (2011) suggests that the Gnetophyta are a sister group (closer) to the rest of the gymnosperms, contradicting the anthophyte hypothesis, which held that gnetophytes were sister to the flowering plants.