in the Division ''Gnetophyta. They are a probably paraphyletic
group of gymnosperms that are different from other gymnosperms in having vessels as the flowering plants do.
They are divided into three groups:
consist of a single genus, Gnetum
, which are mostly woody
climbers in tropical forests. However, the most well-known member of this group, Gnetum gnemon is a tree. The seeds produced are used to produce a crispy snack known as 'kerepok' in Malaysia
. The Malay name for this plant is 'belinjau'.
The Welwitschiales comprise only one species, Welwitschia mirabilis. It grows only in the deserts of Namibia. The plant is strange in having only two large strap-like leaves for all its life. These grow continuously from the base, and are usually tattered at the ends by flapping in the winds.
The Ephedrales are known as the joint firs because they have long slender branches which bear tiny scale-like leaves at their nodes. Ephedra is reputed to have medicinal properties.