Mormon Tea, also known as Joint-fir, is a gymnosperm, related to pines! You would not think so at first glance, but this waist-high shrub does smell and taste like pine. There are tiny leaves and cones at the joints. Five species of Mormon Tea occur in Grand Canyon, but Ephedra viridis, "Green Ephedra," is the only one at the South Rim. The green stems appear yellowish in bright sunlight.
You can just make out tiny joints in the stems--these contain leaves as well as male and
female cones (on different plants). Hidden under the upright brooms are short
trunks with silver bark, shreddy at the bases.
Mormon settlers brewed a pick-me-up tea from the jointed stems. Navajos used the tea for coughs and nasal congestion: the plant contains pseudoephedrine which is good for the urinary tract as well.