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Gnetum buchholzianum - Engl.

Common Name Jointfir
Family Gnetaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats The understorey layer of humid tropical rainforests[332 ]. Thrives in a wide range of habitats, including farm fallows or abandoned farmland, secondary forests, and closed forest[401 ].
Range Western tropical Africa - Nigeria to the Central African Republic, south to the Congo.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (2 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Gnetum buchholzianum Jointfir

Gnetum buchholzianum Jointfir


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Jointfir or Gnetum buchholzianum is an evergreen climbing woody shrub growing about 10m or more from a tuberous rootstock. The dark green leaves are opposite, with narrowly oval leaf blades, rounded base, and 4-8 pairs of strongly curved veins. The branches thickened at the nodes. Jointir is commonly found in western tropical Africa where it is highly valued as a leaf vegetable. The leaves are eaten raw or cooked, or added to sauces. It can also be dried and stored for later use. The tubers, fruits, and seeds are eaten as well. The plant also has medicinal uses. In particular, the leaves are used in the treatment of high blood pressure, constipation, enlarged spleen, piles, sore throat, nausea, warts, and boils. The stem can aid in childbirth.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of climber
Gnetum buchholzianum is an evergreen Climber growing to 10 m (32ft) by 0.4 m (1ft 4in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Thoa buchholziana (Engl.) Doweld

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Fruit  Leaves  Root  Sap  Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment

Leaves - raw or cooked[332 ]. Wherever it occurs in Africa, the leaf is valued as a tasty vegetable, usually eaten finely shredded for addition to soup or made up into condiments, or even taken raw[332 ]. To soften this rather tough vegetable, people often mix it with waterleaf (Talinum triangulare)[299 ]. Shredded leaves can be dried and preserved for later use[299 ]. The leaves have a very high nutritional value and constitute an important source of protein, essential amino acids and mineral elements[401 ]. Leafy stems remain fresh for at least a week after harvesting[299 ]. The dry matter content of the fresh leaves is much higher than for other dark or medium green leaf vegetables. This gives a feeling of firmness during preparation, hence certain consumers consider the leaves as a substitute for meat[299 ]. The leaves of this species are somewhat thicker and darker green than those of the related Gnetum africanum[299 ]. Fruit pulp[332 ]. Seed[332 ]. The mature seed is 15 - 15mm long, enclosed in a somewhat drupaceous orange-tinted envelope. The tubers are sometimes eaten - especially at times of scarcity[401 ]. Climbing members of this genus growing in Asia yield a potable sap[332 ]. This species should also be looked at in this respect[332 ].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antibilious  Antidermatosic  Antidote  Antihaemorrhoidal  Cathartic  Hypotensive

The leaf is used in the treatment of enlarged spleen, sore throat, piles, high blood pressure and as a cathartic[299 , 332 ]. It is eaten as a treatment against nausea and is considered antidotal against arrow-poison based on Parquetina nigrescens[299 , 332 ]. The leaves are chewed to mitigate the effects of drunkenness and they are taken as an enema against constipation[299 ]. Applied externally, the chopped-up leaf serves as a dressing on warts and boils to hasten maturation[332 , 401 ]. The stem is cut up into small pieces and infused to produce a tisane that is taken to ease childbirth and reduce the pain[332 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Fibre  String

Other Uses: The stem is supple and strong. It is used as a rope[299 ], made into traps and nooses for catching game, and into straps for porterage[332 ].

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Management: Coppice  New Crop  Wild Staple Crop

A tropical plant. It grows in rainforest from sea level to 1,200 m altitude. It suits humid locations. It does best with a rainfall of 3,000 mm per year. It needs shade. Plants do not grow well in full sun. A plant of humid, lowland tropical rainforests, being found at elevations from sea level to 1,200 metres[299]. It grows best in areas where the annual rainfall is around 3,000 mm[299]. Succeeds in dappled shade in the woodland. Plants growing in full sun produce thinner leaves which are not so well liked by consumers[299]. Cultivated plants need to be given some support, such as a tree, to grow into[299]. The plant forms two distinct types of stem. Growing up from the base, the stems produce only small, scale-like leaves, and they grow rapidly towards the light. Higher up, side shoots are formed with fully-developed leaves[299]. The plant continues to grow during the dry season and new shoots may develop where the stem has been cut or where side shoots have been removed[299]. New shoots are also formed from rhizomes that spread along the forest floor[299]. Current methods of harvest from wild stands are very destructive[299]. Controlled harvesting, in which only side shoots or parts of stems are collected, allows new shoots to develop where a stem has been cut or where side shoots have been removed[299]. Preliminary observations indicate that 3 - 4 harvests per year are possible, still allowing for substantial regrowth. More frequent harvesting will result in thin leaves that are considered inferior[299]. The first harvest may take place 6 - 9 months after planting. The total lifespan of the plant is estimated at over 10 years[299]. Preliminary observation indicates that in cultivation during the first harvest year the fresh leaf yield may reach 20 t/ha. This may double in subsequent years[299]. Under wild conditions, the plant grows and forms underground tubers or roots that store plant food reserves. These can remain alive for many years when the vegetation and the plant growth above ground are cleared and the soil surface is laid bare[401]. A dioecious species, both male and female forms need to be grown if fruit and seed are required.

Carbon Farming

  • Management: Coppice  Cut to the ground repeatedly - resprouting vigorously. Non-destructive management systems maintaining the soil organic carbon.
  • New Crop  Most new crops were important wild plants until recently, although some are the result of hybridization. They have been developed in the last few, decades. What they have in common is that they are currently cultivated by farmers. Examples include baobab, argan, and buffalo gourd.
  • Wild Staple Crop  Some wild plants have strong historical or contemporary use. Although they are not cultivated crops, they may be wild-managed.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Seed - difficult to germinate in nursery conditions, though the plants self-sow successfully in the wild[401 ]. Cuttings.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Eru, Ikoko, Mokaka ko, Okok, Ukasi,

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Found In

Countries where the plant has been found are listed here if the information is available

Africa, Cameroon, Central Africa, Congo, Nigeria, West Africa,

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Near Threatened

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Gnetum africanumEru, African JointfirClimber12.0 10-12 FLMHSNM422
Gnetum gnemonJointfir, Melinjo, MeninjauTree15.0 10-12 SMHFSNM313

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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Links / References

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A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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