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Ephedra foeminea   - 18th January 2013

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Ephedra foeminea - click on the image to enlarge

 
Ephedra foeminea

 

I was standing near the small lighthouse of Elafonisi and noticed a large patch of red about 100m away. At first I thought that it might have been a fishing net thrown on land by a storm but it was really too high up and too far from the sea. As I got close it turned out to be huge bushes (what you see in the photo above is only a small portion of it) of red berries that were creeping over the other vegetation.
As I had no idea what it could be I asked someone who knows his stuff and it turned out to be Ephedra foeminea (syns. E. campylopoda, E. fragilis subsp. campylopoda). And the 'berries' are not true berries but are called arils and they are the fleshy structures that surround the seeds (but not completely; they are open at the end). It doesn't seem to be particularly rare. It's also supposed to be poisonous so I was pleased that I didn't taste them (that's my natural inclination when I see something that I don't know but I am getting wiser).

You can click on the picture to enlarge

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