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CANNABIS sativa

Image of Cannabis sativa

Family

Cannabaceae

Botanical Name

CANNABIS sativa

Plant Common Name

Marijuana

General Description

A controversial plant valuable both as medicine and for commercial fiber, Cannabis sativa is an a Eurasian field weed that has become naturalized across the Americas. It is highly adaptable and commonly found as a roadside and field weed where it has naturalized. Commonly called marijuana, ganja, Indian hemp, pot or reefer, among other names, this warm season annual was long cultivated for fiber used in creating everything from rope to coarse fabric. Its medicinal qualities derive from its nearly 100 phytochemical constituents, the most controversial of these being Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) which has hallucinogenic effects when smoked or ingested in high quantities. In many parts of the world it is illegal in commerce or to grow, but in North America laws are lossening due to the popularity and wide acceptance of medical marijuana. Doctors now recognize that it is can aid those suffering from chronic pain, cancer, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, and epilepsy.

The fan-like compound leaves of Indian hemp are very distinctive. Each leaf may have three to nine leaflets which are coarsely toothed and narrowly lance-shaped. Plants are naturally monoecious. This means that some plants have male flowers, some have female and they must cross pollinate for flower formation. Some cultivars have been genetically tweaked to house both male and female flowers on single plants and others have been modified to be predominantly female but these are not the natural states of wild-type plants. Mature plants can flower anytime as long as growing conditions are favorable. Flowers are wind-pollinated. Fruits are fragrant, small, resinous achenes that are yellowish brown and shiny. The seeds within contain a high-quality oil.

The prevalence of legal medical marijuana growing has increased information on the culture of this easy-to-grow plant. Full sun and well-drained soil with a neutral to slightly acid pH are needed for good health. Provide water enough to keep plants lightly moist, not wet. Growing temperatures should be warm and ambient humidity moderate. It is illegal to grow Cannabis sativa in many areas. Only grow it under legal circumstances.

This large, bushy annual is texturally interesting but most don't have the option to grow it as an ornamental,

Characteristics

  • Plant Type

    Annual

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun

  • Height

    6'-20' / 1.8m - 6.1m

  • Native To

    Russia/Siberia, Iraq, Iran, Asia

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Loam

  • Growth Rate

    Very Fast

  • Water Requirements

    Average Water

  • Habit

    Upright/Erect

  • Seasonal Interest

    Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Insignificant

  • Flower Color

    Green, Tan

  • Fruit Color

    Tan, Brown, Sandy Brown

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Green, Tan, Brown

  • Fragrant Flowers

    No

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    Yes

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    Yes

  • Repeat Bloomer

    Yes

  • Showy Fruit

    No

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    Yes

  • Foliage Texture

    Fine

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Usage

    Edible

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    Sometimes

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes