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the only genus of the Gnetaceae family. There are about 40 species, distributed in humid tropical forests, particularly in South and Southeast Asia but also in South America and western tropical Africa. They are chiefly lianas, but some, such as G. gnemon, are small trees or bushes. The leaves are opposite, broad, integral, leathery, penninervate, with typical network veining. The plants are diclinous. Both the micro- and megastrobiles are gathered into whorls. The female gametophyte lacks archegonia, and egg cells are formed from free nuclei in the upper part of the gametophyte. When the seed ripens, the internal cover of the megastrobile forms a hard, rocklike layer, and the brightly colored surface becomes fleshy.
In tropical Asia several Gnetum species, for example, G.gnemon, are cultivated for their edible seeds. Young leaves and the strobiles are also used as food. G. ula provides edible oil.
REFERENCETakhtadzhian, A. L. Vysshie rasteniia, vol. 1. Moscow-Leningrad, 1956.
A. L. TAKHTADZHIAN