Cannabaceae - cannabis family

Gerald A. Mulligan
Research Scientist and Research Institute Director (retired) and presently Honorary Research Associate, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada,
Ottawa, Ontario K1A 0C6, Canada

Awarded the George Lawson Medal by the Canadian Botanical Association in 2006.
Awarded the Faculty of Macdonald, McGill University, Most Distinguished Alumni Award on October 18, 2014.
Read his biography "The Real Weed Man" available in print and ebook.

Cannabis sativa L., wild marijuana, chanvre
Wild marijuana is an erect, annual herb, 0.2 to 5 m. (.7 to 16.5 ft.) tall, with male and female flowers on separate plants. Stem leaves are 3- to 13- palmately compound except at the apex. It is most frequently found growing in heavily manured, moist soils, in the southern portions of Quebec and Ontario and in the adjacent States north of 37 degrees latitude. Although it has never been a significant weed of agriculture, it has been eliminated in many areas by various law enforcement agencies because of its intoxicating properties. However, it is far less intoxicating than any of the cultigens that have been selectively bred to enhance this property. Cultigens of Cannabis sativa have also been selectively bred for use as a textile fiber, a seed oil, a medicine, a food, for recreation, and for spiritual moods. Wild marijuana can be distinguished from its cultigens by the following characters: plants have a smaller stature, have a more branching habit with shorter internodes, have woodier stems, have smaller leaves and have narrower leaflets. The seeds are also smaller (generally less than 3.8 mm long), disarticulate more readily, are covered by a tightly adhering mottled layer, are relatively longer-lived, and do not germinate simultaneously.

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wild marijuana, chanvre
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