The Gymnosperm Database


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Conservation status

Gnetum nodiflorum

Brongniart 1828

Common names

Tap-kam' (Puinave); hoo-roo' (Taiwano) (both tribes of northwest Amazonia) (Schultes and Raffauf 1990).

Taxonomic notes

Syn: Gnetum amazonicum Tulasne 1858; Gnetum oblongifolium Huber 1902; Gnetum cruzianum Gleason 1925 (Stevenson and Zanoni 1991).


"Woody vine; twigs thick-barked with sparse but coarse lenticets. Leaves strongly coriaceous, elliptic-oblong to nearly ovate, up to 18 × 9 cm, green to dark green, without subepidermal fibers, primary vein sunken above, lower surface with secondary veins more than 2 mm wide and indistinct tertiary and higher order veins 1-2 mm wide, deflexed and acute to acuminate at apex, obtuse and unequal at base. Microsporangiate axes branched, paniculate, ultimate internodes from 10-20 mm long between bract collars at anthesis. Ovule-bearing branches paniculate, ultimate internodes 20 mm long between bract collars. Mature seed red, oblongoid to shortly ellipsoidal, 30-35 mm long, 20 mm in diameter, obtuse at apex" (Stevenson and Zanoni 1991).

Distribution and Ecology

"Wet lowland river valleys and coastal tropical areas of the Amazon basin from Ecuador and Colombia to Brazil and north into the Guianas" (Stevenson and Zanoni 1991).

Big tree




"The Indians of the Colombian Vaupés roast the seeds for food. A Puinave medicine man reported that a gummy decoction of the bark is employed externally as hot as possible to reduce swellings caused by muscular injury or torn tendons. Persistent rumors maintain that the leaves are sometimes added to the hallucinogenic drink caapi (Banisteriopsis caapi), but this information has not been confirmed.

"In view of the limited number of aboriginal uses of this gymnosperm in the Americas, the following report from Surinam is of interest. The Tirio Indians employ a decoction of the crushed plant as a wash for treating headaches, and the Wayanas use the water from this liana for treating weakness, thinness and loss of appetite. The Wyana name is kwe-i ah-ku-wah nu-pah meaning 'shaman devil spirit,' indicating presumably some other use for, or association with, witchcraft" (Schultes and Raffauf 1990).




See also

Maheshwari and Vasil 1961.

Last Modified 2017-12-29