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Cannabis sativa

Please keep in mind that it is illegal to uproot a plant without the landowner's consent and care should be taken at all times not to damage wild plants. Wild plants should never be picked for pleasure and some plants are protected by law.
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Plant Profile

Flowering Months:
Cannabaceae (Hemp)
Also in this family:
Life Cycle:
Maximum Size:
5 metres tall

Green, no petals
Green flowers appearing in branched clusters. The female flowers are in stalked spikes. 5 sepals.
The fruits of cannabis are known as marijuana.
An annual flower with palmately lobes leaves. The leaves are lobed almost to the base of the leaf. Leaves are 3 to 9-lobed.
Other Names:
Hashish, Marijuana.
Frequency (UK):
Occasionally seen  

Other Information


Cannabis sativa is a species of the plant genus Cannabis, which is commonly known as marijuana or hemp. It is a tall, herbaceous annual plant that is indigenous to Central and South Asia. The plant is known for its psychoactive effects, which are caused by compounds called cannabinoids, the most well-known of which is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). Cannabis sativa strains are usually used for recreational and medicinal purposes, and it is known for its ability to help with conditions such as chronic pain, anxiety, and depression, as well as other medical conditions. In recent years, the use of hemp varieties of Cannabis sativa, which contain low levels of THC and high levels of CBD, has been increasing in popularity for industrial uses such as textiles, paper, and biofuels. However, the possession, use, and sale of marijuana is still illegal in some countries, and its legal status varies from state to state in the US.


The hemp plant, also known as Cannabis sativa, is a species of plant that has been used by humans for thousands of years for various purposes, including medicinal, industrial, and recreational uses. However, despite its many uses and benefits, the hemp plant has often been misunderstood and wrongly demonized. In this blog, we'll explore the hemp plant in terms of a wildflower, looking at its characteristics, habitat, and role in the ecosystem.

Characteristics of the Hemp Plant

As a wildflower, the hemp plant is a herbaceous annual plant that typically grows to a height of 1-5 meters. It has long, slender leaves that are palmate and serrated, and its stem is fibrous and sturdy. The flowers of the hemp plant are small and greenish-yellow in color, and they are arranged in clusters at the top of the plant.


The hemp plant is native to central Asia, but it has been cultivated and naturalized in many parts of the world, including Europe, North America, and Australia. It is a hardy plant that can grow in a wide range of soil types and climates, although it prefers well-drained soil and warm temperatures.

Role in the Ecosystem

As a wildflower, the hemp plant plays an important role in the ecosystem. Its flowers provide food and habitat for a variety of pollinators, including bees, butterflies, and moths. The plant's fibrous stem and leaves also provide shelter and nesting sites for small animals and birds.

In addition to its role in the ecosystem, the hemp plant has many practical uses for humans. Its seeds are rich in protein and healthy fats, and they can be used in a variety of foods, including smoothies, salads, and baked goods. The plant's fibers can be used to make a wide range of products, including clothing, paper, and building materials. And, of course, the plant's medicinal properties have been well-documented, with CBD and THC being the most well-known compounds extracted from the plant.

Industrial Uses of Hemp

The hemp plant is an incredibly useful resource in the industrial sector. Its fibers are incredibly strong and durable, and they can be used to make a wide range of products, including clothing, paper, rope, and building materials. Because hemp fibers are so strong, they are also being used in the development of advanced materials for use in industries such as aerospace and automotive manufacturing.

Hemp can also be used as a biofuel, with the seeds and stalks of the plant being converted into ethanol, biodiesel, and other types of fuel. In addition, the plant can be used to clean up soil contaminated with heavy metals, as it has been shown to absorb toxins from the soil.

Medicinal Uses of Hemp

One of the most well-known uses of the hemp plant is in the development of medicinal products. The plant contains a variety of compounds, including CBD and THC, which have been shown to have a range of health benefits.

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a non-psychoactive compound found in hemp that has been shown to have anti-inflammatory, pain-relieving, and anxiety-reducing properties. CBD products are available in a variety of forms, including oils, tinctures, gummies, and topicals.

THC, or tetrahydrocannabinol, is the psychoactive compound found in hemp that is responsible for its intoxicating effects. THC has been shown to have pain-relieving, anti-inflammatory, and anti-nausea properties, and it is often used to treat conditions such as chronic pain, glaucoma, and nausea associated with chemotherapy.

Environmental Benefits of Hemp

In addition to its industrial and medicinal uses, the hemp plant also has a range of environmental benefits. Because it is a fast-growing plant that requires minimal inputs, it is an incredibly sustainable crop that can be grown without the use of pesticides or herbicides. In fact, hemp has been shown to improve soil health, as it can help to prevent soil erosion and improve soil structure.

Furthermore, hemp can be used to replace a range of unsustainable products, such as cotton and paper made from trees. By using hemp-based products instead of those made from unsustainable materials, we can help to reduce our environmental impact and create a more sustainable future.

Facts about Hemp

Here are some additional interesting facts about the hemp plant:

  1. Hemp was one of the first plants to be spun into fiber around 10,000 years ago. Its use in textiles dates back to ancient civilizations in China and Mesopotamia.

  2. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on paper made from hemp.

  3. Hemp was an important crop in colonial America, and many of the founding fathers, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, grew hemp on their farms.

  4. Hemp is a highly sustainable crop that requires less water and land than other crops such as cotton.

  5. Hemp seeds are a highly nutritious food source, containing all nine essential amino acids and a balance of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids.

  6. Hemp can be used to produce biodegradable plastics, which are a more sustainable alternative to traditional petroleum-based plastics.

  7. Hemp can absorb more carbon dioxide from the atmosphere than trees, making it an important tool in the fight against climate change.

  8. The global market for hemp products is projected to reach $26.6 billion by 2025, driven by increasing demand for sustainable products and the growing acceptance of hemp-based products in the mainstream.

Overall, the hemp plant is a fascinating and valuable wildflower with a rich history and a wide range of uses and benefits. As we continue to explore and harness the potential of this amazing plant, we have the opportunity to create a more sustainable and equitable future for ourselves and for the planet.

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Reproduced by kind permission of the BSBI.

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