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Gnetum gnemon - L.

Common Name Jointfir, Melinjo, Meninjau
Family Gnetaceae
USDA hardiness 10-12
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Occasional in lowland ridges and mature fallow forest[303 ]. Commonly found in secondary humid evergreen dipterocarp forests[303 ].
Range E. Asia - China, India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea to Fiji.
Edibility Rating    (3 of 5)
Other Uses    (3 of 5)
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating    (1 of 5)
Care (info)
Tender Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade Full sun
Gnetum gnemon Jointfir, Melinjo, Meninjau

Gnetum gnemon Jointfir, Melinjo, Meninjau
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Physical Characteristics

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Gnetum gnemon is an evergreen Tree growing to 15 m (49ft) by 5 m (16ft) at a slow rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 10. The flowers are pollinated by Moths. The plant is not self-fertile.
Suitable for: medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils and can grow in saline soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) semi-shade (light woodland) or no shade. It prefers moist soil and can tolerate drought.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


Gnetum vinosum Elmer.

Plant Habitats

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Fruit  Leaves  Sap  Seed
Edible Uses: Condiment  Drink

Young leaves - raw or cooked[200 , 303 ]. Steamed and eaten as a potherb[301 , 303 , 307 ]. Seed - usually cooked[63 , 200 ]. The nutritious seeds are boiled and eaten as a snack like peanuts[301 , 303 ]. Eaten as a dessert nut[63 ]. The seeds have a slight bitterness[307 ]. A fine flour can be obtained from the ground up seed - it is used for making thin crackers, known as 'emping', which are fried in coconut oil and eaten with rice etc[200 , 301 ]. The seed is 2 - 4cm long, turning scarlet to red-tinged orange when ripe[200 ]. The fruits and inflorescences are added to soups[301 ]. Peel of the ripe fruit is dried and used in soups[301 ]. Somewhat tasteless[307 ]. The sap from the stem is drinkable[301 ].

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.

The leaf sap is used medicinally to cure an eye complication[303 ].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Containers  Fibre  Insecticide  Paper  Repellent  String  Wood

Design: Shade garden; Accent tree; Specimen; Fruiting tree; Street tree; Botanical collection; Conservatory. Agroforestry Uses: It is possible to use this tree for dryland rehabilitation and reforestation. It can survive annual rainfall of 750 - 1,000mm[303 ]. In Papua New Guinea this species can be found growing alongside breadfruit (Artocarpus spp.), Pandanus conoideus and other food and fibre species. It is intercropped with several species like Arctocarpus camansi, Pandanus spp., Durio spp., Nephelium lappaceum (rambutan) and Parkia sp[338 ]. Other Uses The bast fibres provide durable cordage for fishing nets, lines, string bags and other durable tools[200 , 303 ]. A potential economic use of this plant is the utilisation of its bark in rope making[303 ]. Wood smoke and topical applications reduced biting of human volunteers by the anopheline mosquitoes by 79% and 51%, respectively[303 ]. Enzyme inhibition prevents insect predation of foliage[303 ]. The wood is used for pulp, house construction, paper and boxes[303 ]. Fruit for wild birds and bats.

Special Uses

Carbon Farming  Food Forest

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Industrial Crop: Fiber  Management: Standard  Regional Crop  Staple Crop: Balanced carb

Grows best in humid tropical areas at elevations up to 1,200 metres[200 , 303 ]. Very tolerant of different levels of rainfall, succeeding with a mean annual rainfall in the range 750 - 5,000mm[303 ]. Prefers a position in semi shade in a humus-rich, moist soil[200 ]. Tolerates full sun[338 ]. Succeeds in heavy shade[974 ]. Succeeds in a wide range of well-drained soils, preferably slightly acid to neutral, but tolerating calcareous rocks[338 ]. Tolerant of low fertility soils[338 ]. Able to tolerate drought for some months, assuming some soil moisture retention or irrigation during dry season[338 ]. Tolerant of strong winds, so long as they do not carry salt spray[338 ]. Plants are deeply rooted with a strong tap root system[303 ]. The plant exists in several varieties, in particular there is the tree form (var. Gnemon) and three shrub forms (vars., brunonianum, griffithii and tenerum) The cultivated trees belong to Gnetum gnemon var. Gnemon and are larger, with larger fruits[303 ]. Melinjo has the ability to improve nitrogen levels in the soil due to its mycorrhizal associations with the ectomycorrhizal fungus Scleroderma sinnamariense[303 ]. In experimental conditions, mycorrhizal inoculation appears to enhance seedling growth under shaded conditions in acidic soils[303 ]. A dioecious plant, male and female forms need to be grown if seed is required. A coupled process of double fertilization and post-fertilization endosperm formation occurs in the genus Gnetum. However the product of the second fertilization event in Gnetum is diploid and expresses the developmental programme of an embryo. In G. Gnemon, egg cells are not formed and maternal provisioning of the embryo-nourishing female gametophyte takes place entirely after fertilization. The lack of differentiated egg cells in G. Gnemon is unparalleled among land plants, the biological significance of double fertilization that does not form endosperm, in Gnetum, is currently unknown. This process may be biologically neutral. Seeds produced three times yearly in Indonesia, March-April, June-July and September-October. The strobili are visited by nectar-seeking moths of Pyralidae and Geometridae. The sticky pollen of Gnetum attaches on proboscides and antennae of these moths. Lack of showy petals, an apparent disadvantage in entomophily is compensated for by floral fragrancy

Carbon Farming

  • Industrial Crop: Fiber  Clothing, rugs, sheets, blankets etc. Currently, almost none of our fiber are produced from perennial crops but could be!
  • Management: Standard  Plants grow to their standard height. Harvest fruit, seeds, or other products. Non-Destructive management systems.
  • Regional Crop  These crops have been domesticated and cultivated regionally but have not been adopted elsewhere and are typically not traded globally, Examples in this broad category include perennial cottons and many nuts and staple fruits.
  • Staple Crop: Balanced carb  (0-15 percent protein, 0-15 percent oil, with at least one over 5 percent). The carbohydrates are from either starch or sugar. Annuals include maize, wheat, rice, and potato. Perennials include chestnuts, carob, perennial fruits, nuts, cereals, pseudocereals, woody pods, and acorns.

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

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Plant Propagation

Seed - best sown in situ[303 ]. Daily watering of the sand and seed mixture will hasten germination, possibly to three months[303 ]. Without a pre-germination treatment, germination may be 1-2% in 6 months and may reach 100% in 12 months[303 ]. Air layering[200 ]. Short cuttings, taken beneath a node[200 ]. Budding. Grafting.

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Common names include gnemon, melinjo, belinjo, kuliat/culiat, padi oats, paddy oats, Belinjau, Meninjau, Bago, Gnemon Tree, Maninjau, Minjau, Songkok, Spanish Joint Fir

Bangladesh; Cambodia; China; Fiji; India; Indonesia; Malaysia; Myanmar; Papua New Guinea; Philippines; Solomon Islands; Thailand; Vanuatu; Viet Nam

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.

None Known

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status : Status: Least Concern

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Gnetum africanumEru, African JointfirClimber12.0 10-12 FLMHSNM422
Gnetum buchholzianumJointfirClimber10.0 10-12 FLMHFSNM422

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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Botanical References

Links / References

For a list of references used on this page please go here
A special thanks to Ken Fern for some of the information used on this page.

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