Description from Flora of China
Herbs, annual or perennial, erect or twining, dioecious or sometimes monoecious, often with cystoliths (a hard calcium carbonate structure at base of a hair). Stems furrowed or winged. Stipules free. Leaves alternate or opposite, palmately lobed or compound, sometimes simple. Male inflorescences a bracteate cymose panicle. Male flowers: pedicellate; sepals 5, free; petals absent; stamens 5, opposite sepals; filaments short; anthers 2-loculed, dehiscent by longitudinal slits. Female inflorescences a bracteate spicate cyme much reduced in Cannabis, pendent or erect. Female flowers: sessile; calyx appressed to ovary, membranous; petals absent; ovary 1-loculed; ovule solitary, pendulous from locule apex; style 2-parted, branches filiform. Fruit an achene, covered by persistent calyx; endosperm fleshy; embryo curved or spirally involute.
Because all the Chinese species in this family are cultivated and are often found naturalized in disturbed habitats, it is difficult to know the true wild distributions.
Cannabaceae has sometimes been included in Moraceae or Urticaceae but is now usually recognized as a distinct family. The subfamily Celtidoideae of Ulmaceae could possibly be included within Cannabaceae (see the discussion after the Ulmaceae family description).
Two genera and four species: N Africa, Asia, Europe, North America; two genera and four species (one endemic) in China.
(Authors: Zhou Zhekun (周浙昆) ; Bruce Bartholomew)
Chang Siushih. 1998. Cannaboideae. In: Chang Siushih & Wu Chengyih, eds., Fl. Reipubl. Popularis Sin. 23(1): 220–224.