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Gnetum gnemon


Gnetum gnemon L.

Family Name: Gnetaceae
Common Name: Belinjau, Meninjau, Bago, Gnemon Tree, Maninjau, Minjau, Songkok, Spanish Joint Fir, 灌状买麻藤


Family Name
Genus Epithet
Species Epithet
Name Authority
Name Status (botanical)
Common Names

Classifications and Characteristics

Plant Division Gymnosperms (Non-Flowering Seed Plants) (Gnetum)
Plant Growth Form Tree (Medium (16m-30m))
Lifespan (in Singapore) Perennial
Mode of Nutrition Autotrophic
Plant Shape Conical, Columnar
Maximum Height 22 m


Native Distribution From Assam, through Thailand, Peninsular Malaysia, Singapore, and the Philippines, to Sumba, Celebes, New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Fiji
Native Habitat Terrestrial (Primary Rainforest, Secondary Rainforest, Coastal Forest, Riverine), Shoreline (Backshore, Rocky Beach)
Local Conservation Status Native to Singapore (Critically Endangered (CR))

Description and Ethnobotany

Growth Form It is usually a tree or shrub, and has a single straight trunk marked with conspicuous rings.
Crown Its crown is narrow conical to column-like, with short drooping branches.
Foliage Its opposite, stalked leaves have slightly leathery leaf blades that are oval to lance-shaped, dark green, and 7.5–20 by 2.5–10 cm.
Flowers This species is dioecious and produces male and female cones on different trees at the leaf axils.. The branched or unbranched male cones are 2.5–7.6 cm long, and bear whorls of tiny microsporophylls and aborted ovules at each joint. The female cones are 5–13 cm long, bear 5–8 ovules at each joint.
Fruits Its seeds are covered by a fleshy layer then a tough husk surrounding a starchy interior, and which ripen from green to yellow to orange to red. The seeds are oval, almost velvety, glaucous, and 2–7 cm long.
Habitat It grows in rainforest, rocky islands, riverbanks, and headlands, up to 1,200 m altitude. It occurs locally in Pulau Tekong.
Associated Fauna It is insect-pollinated, and its seeds are probably dispersed by birds.
Cultivation It is best propagated by seeds, but this may take up to a year. Faster propagation methods include making cuttings, layering, and grafting. 
Etymology Latin Gnetum, and gnemon,, both of which are derived from the Moluccan name of the tree, ganema
Ethnobotanical Uses Edible Plant Parts (Edible Leaves, Edible Seeds)
Food (Fruit & Vegetable : Its young leaves, flowering shoots and fruits are edible when cooked. The kernel of the seed is made into cracker (emping or emping belinjau).)
Medicinal ( The roots are used as an antidote for poison, and as a medicine for malaria.)
Timber & Products ( Its wood is used for wharfing rafts and boats. Its branches may be used for making barrels.)
Cultural / Religious ( Heritage Tree: There is currently one individual of Gnetum gnemon listed as Heritage Tree in Singapore. To find out more about this tree, please visit the Heritage Tree Register.)
[Others]: The inner bark provides a fibre, which is made into string bags known as bilum, bow strings, fishing lines, nets, lightweight cord, and caulking boats. 

Landscaping Features

Landscaping It is a suitable plant for roadside verges or small gardens as it has a narrow, cylindrical crown so making it ideal for avenues of trees.
Desirable Plant Features Ornamental Seeds, Ornamental Form
Plant & Rootzone Preference - Tolerance Dry Soils / Drought, Moist Soils, Well-Drained Soils, Saline Soils / Salt Spray, Fertile Loamy Soils
Landscape Uses Roadside Tree / Palm, General, Parks & Gardens, Small Gardens, Coastal, Riverine

Fauna, Pollination and Dispersal

Pollination Method(s) Biotic (Fauna)
Seed or Spore Dispersal Abiotic

Plant Care and Propagation

Light Preference Full Sun
Water Preference Moderate Water
Plant Growth Rate Moderate
Propagation Method Seed, Stem Cutting, Grafting, Air-Layering


Foliage Retention Evergreen
Mature Foliage Colour(s) Green
Mature Foliage Texture(s) Leathery
Foliar Type Simple / Unifoliate
Foliar Arrangement Along Stem Opposite
Foliar Attachment to Stem Petiolate
Foliar Shape(s) Non-Palm Foliage (Oval, Lanceolate)
Foliar Venation Pinnate / Net
Foliar Margin Entire
Leaf Area Index (LAI) for Green Plot Ratio 4.0 (Tree - Dense Canopy)

Floral (Angiosperm)

Flower & Plant Sexuality 1 Unisexual Flowers
Flower & Plant Sexuality 2 Dioecious
Flower Grouping Cluster / Inflorescence
Flower Location Axillary

Image Repository



Master ID 1649
Species ID 2942
Flora Disclaimer The information in this website has been compiled from reliable sources, such as reference works on medicinal plants. It is not a substitute for medical advice or treatment and NParks does not purport to provide any medical advice. Readers should always consult his/her physician before using or consuming a plant for medicinal purposes.
Species record last updated on: 18 February 2022.

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