This genus is the only member of the Gnetales represented in Europe.
The Gnetales are a class apart, including three living genera, of which we know next to nothing as regards their past history or line of descent.
Although there are several morphological features in the three genera of Gnetales which might seem to bring them into line with the Angiosperms, it is usual to regard these resemblances as parallel developments along distinct lines rather than to interpret them as evidence of direct relationship.
In the more heterogeneous structure of the wood and in the possession of true vessels the Gnetales agree closely with the higher flowering plants.
It is not improbable that the three genera of this ancient phylum survive as types of a blindly-ending branch of the Gymnosperms; but be that as it may, it is in the Gnetales more than in any other Gymnosperms that we find features which help us to obtain a dim prospect of the lines along which the Angiosperms may have been evolved.
Our knowledge of the Gnetales leaves much to be desired, but such facts as we possess would seem to indicate that this group is of special importance as foreshadowing, more than any other Gymnosperms, the Angiospermous type.