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FOC | Family List | FOC Vol. 5 | Cannabaceae | Cannabis

1. Cannabis sativa Linnaeus, Sp. Pl. 2: 1027. 1753.

大麻 da ma

Cannabis indica Lamarck; C. sativa var. indica (Lamarck) E. Small & Cronquist.

Plants 1-3 m tall. Branchlets densely white pubescent. Stipules linear. Leaves alternate; petiole 2-7 cm; leaf blade abaxially whitish green, strigose, and with scattered brownish resinous dots, adaxially dark green and with cystolith hairs; leaflets usually lanceolate to linear, (3-)7-15 × (0.2-)0.5-1.5(-2) cm with longest in middle, margin coarsely serrate, apex acuminate. Male inflorescences ca. 25 cm. Male flowers: yellowish green, nodding; pedicel 2-4 mm, thin; sepals ovate to lanceolate, 2.5-4 mm, membranous, with sparse prostrate hairs; petals absent; filament 0.5-1 mm; anthers oblong. Female inflorescences crowded in apical leaf axils among leaflike bracts and bracteoles. Female flowers: green, sessile; calyx sparsely pubescent; ovary globose, ± enclosed by appressed calyx, surrounded closely by bract and bracteoles. Persistent bracts yellow. Achene flattened ovoid, 2-5 mm; pericarp crustaceous, finely reticulate. Fl. May-Jun, fr. Jul.

Cultivated. throughout China, native or naturalized in Xinjiang [native or naturalized in Bhutan, India, and Sikkim; C Asia].

Cannabis sativa is probably originally native to Central Asia, but its long cultivation makes it difficult to know its exact original distribution. This long cultivation and human selection for different desirable characteristics has resulted in considerable variation, but separation of it into either several species or the recognition of several varieties is probably not justified beyond the level of cultivated forms. Cannabis ruderalis Janischewsky, from Russia, is considered by some to be a distinct species from C. sativa.

The long, strong fibers are used in the paper-making industry and for weaving cloth, the seeds are a source of oil, the leaves, flowers, and fruit are used medicinally, and the female inflorescences (particularly the glandular leafy bracts and bracteoles) are used as a drug.


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