Gnetaeplants 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:
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 consist of a single genus Ephedra, and are known as the jointfirs because they have long slender branches which bear tiny scale-like leaves at their nodes. Ephedra is reputed to have medicinal properties.