Gnetum gnemon (PDF) is an evergreen tree native to southeastern Asia and the western Pacific Islands. It grows from tropical lowland forests to lower montane forests, ranging in elevation from near sea level to 1700 meters. It prefers well-draining sites in areas that receive 3000 to 5000mm of mean annual rainfall.
Gnetum gnemon, commonly called melinjo, is used extensively in cuisine. In Malaysian-Indonesian cuisine the young leaves, strobili, and young and ripe fruit are used in cooked dishes. The seeds are consumed raw, boiled, roasted, or processed by pounding the kernels into cakes or crackers. In Malaysia it is common to see young leaves and shoots in seafood dishes. In Vanuatu, the leaves and male strobili are boiled and flavoured with coconut cream. In Fiji, young leaves are cooked in coconut milk and the fruits are also consumed. You may find the fruits to be used as a substitute for coffee in the Philippines. In Papua-New Guinea, the leaves and young cones accompany meat and are often served with a sauce made from the red pulp of Pandanus conoideus.
This species also has medicinal and practical uses. The sap has been used in traditional medicine to treat eye complications. The timber from the wood is utilized for beams for houses, tool handles, and box-making. The wood may also be made into paper or used for fuel. In Papua-New Guinea, the bast fibres (phloem fibre) under the outer bark are sometimes used for making cordage for string bags, bowstrings on musical instruments and fishing lines.