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E Native Photo: M. Sawmliana
Common name: Melinjo, Paddy oats, Gnemon tree, Joint-fir spinach • Assamese: Ganemoe, Genemo • Mizo: Pelh
Botanical name: Gnetum gnemon    Family: Gnetaceae (Melinjo family)

Melinjo is a small or medium-size tree, unlike most other Gnetum species, which are climbers, growing up to 15-20 m tall. The leaves are evergreen, opposite, 8-20 cm long and 3-10 cm broad, entire, bronze when young, glossy dark green otherwise. Male inflorescences arise in leaf-axils, solitary, simple or once branched; male spikes 3-6 cm x 2.5-3 mm, involucral collars clearly separated, to 1 cm apart, each collar with 50-80 flowers plus 5-15 spherical sterile female flowers, basal hairs not prominent. Female inflorescences are similar to male; nodes each with 5-8 female flowers. The fruit-like female cone consist of little but skin and a large nut-like seed 2-4 cm long inside. Male cones are small, arranged in long stalks, and are often mistaken for flowers. Fleshy strobili weigh about 5.5 g, the seed alone 3.8 g. The red ripe cones are eaten by birds, mammals and reptiles. Parts of the plants are used as vegetable. Melinjo is native to NE India, China and SE Asia.

Identification credit: M. Sawmliana Photographed in Lengpui, Mizoram.

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