Description from Flora of China
Ephedra gerardiana Wallich ex C. A. Meyer var. saxatilis Stapf, Österr. Akad. Wiss. Math.-Naturwiss. Kl., Denkschr. 56(2): 76. 1889; E. likiangensis Florin f. mairei (Florin) C. Y. Cheng; E. likiangensis var. mairei (Florin) L. K. Fu & Y. F. Yu; E. saxatilis var. mairei Florin.
Shrubs small, to 60 cm; stems erect or ascending, grayish brown or grayish yellow, stout; green branchlets clustered at nodes, radially arranged; internodes 2-3(-4) cm × 1.5-3 mm, prominently furrowed when dry, smooth or scabridulous. Leaves opposite, (2-)3(-6) mm, connate for 1/2-3/4 their length. Pollen cones 1-3, usually opposite at nodes, sessile or shortly pedunculate; bracts in (3-)5 or 6(or 7) pairs, margins broad, membranous; staminal columns exserted at apex, with 6-8 sessile anthers. Seed cones solitary or opposite sometimes at subsequent nodes, sessile or shortly pedunculate, bracts in 2 or 3 pairs, connate for 1/5-2/3 their length, margins narrowly membranous, red and fleshy at maturity; integument tube ca. 0.5 mm, straight. Seeds often 2, grayish black, pruinose, ovoid to subcylindric, ca. 6 × 3 mm, ridged, usually exserted. Pollination Jul, seed maturity Aug-Sep. 2n = 28*.
Ephedra saxatilis var. mairei is said to differ mainly in having seed cones sessile, pollen cones with fewer (2-5) bracts, and primary branches often pendulous or prostrate. If it is at all distinct, the appropriate taxonomic rank is not clear. It has been transferred to E. likiangensis, but one of the most distinctive characters of that species, the degree to which the apical bracts in the female cones are connate (3/4-8/9 their length) is not found in var. mairei. The taxon is therefore included here in the synonymy of E. saxatilis.
Mountain slopes and sandy places; 3100-4600 m. S Xizang, N Yunnan [Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim]