Description from Flora of China
Subshrubs to 15(-30) cm, almost matlike; roots, stems, and branches very woody; branches short and stout, multinodular; nodes thick and knotty; green branchlets aggregated at nodes and radially arranged, thin and short; internodes 1-1.5 cm × ca. 1 mm. Leaves opposite, small, ca. 1 mm, connate for ca. 1/2 their length. Pollen cones opposite at nodes, sessile, 2-3 mm; bracts in 2 or 3 pairs; staminal column ca. 1/2 exserted, with 5-8 sessile anthers. Seed cones solitary, red and fleshy at maturity; bracts in 2(or 3) pairs, apical pair connate for ca. 1/2 their length, 2-flowered; micropylar tube ca. 1 mm. Seeds usually 2, yellowish brown, ovoid or oblong-ovoid, 4-8 × ca. 3 mm, exceeding bracts, 1/2-2/3 exserted, prominently longitudinally ridged, with dense, tiny projections. Pollination May, seed maturity Jun.
The name Ephedra lepidosperma C. Y. Cheng, accepted in FRPS but treated here as a synonym of E. rhytidosperma, is invalid because two types (male and female) were designated in the protologue (in W. C. Cheng & al., Acta Phytotax. Sin. 13(4): 87. 1975).
Dry rocky slopes and flood lands; below 1500 m. Gansu (Baoji Shan), Nei Mongol (Helan Shan), Ningxia (Helan Shan) [Mongolia]