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Alan T. Whittemore, except as noted

Tree, shrub, or erect or twining perennial herb; dioecious or flowers staminate and bisexual, wind-pollinated; epidermis with stiff hairs, glandular or not; sap watery. Leaf: petioled; simple, unlobed or palmately lobed or compound, all alternate or lower opposite. Inflorescence: terminal or axillary, unisexual or with both male and bisexual flowers. Flower: perianth parts 4–6, free or fused; stamens 0 or 4–6; ovary 0 or 1, superior, chamber 1, ovule 1, style 1, short, stigmas 2, slender, plumose. Fruit: drupe or achene, occasionally ± enclosed in persistent perianth.
11 genera, ± 100 species: temperate, tropical areas worldwide. [Sytsma et al. 2002 Amer J Bot 89:1531–1546] —Scientific Editors: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Unabridged references: [Mitchell 1988 Bull New York State Mus Nat Hist 464:17–23]

Key to Cannabaceae


Alan T. Whittemore & Elizabeth McClintock

1 sp. (Greek, Latin: hemp) [Small & Cronquist 1976 Taxon 25:405–435]

Annual, erect; hairs unbranched. Stem: branched, < 4 m; inner bark fibrous. Leaf: lower opposite, palmately compound, upper alternate, palmately compound to occasionally simple; leaflets generally 3–7, < 15 cm, narrowly lanceolate, coarsely serrate. Staminate inflorescence: panicle- or spike-like, > 15 cm, ± open. Pistillate inflorescence: erect to spreading, > 2 cm, dense. Pistillate flower: perianth parts fused into a short, unlobed tube or ring. Fruit: achene, 1–2 mm, generally ± enclosed in persistent perianth.
Disturbed areas; generally < 600 m. California Floristic Province; possibly native to central Asia, but cultivated since pre-history. [Cannabis indica Lam.] Highly variable. Psychoactive resin (THC) concentrated in pistillate inflorescences; used in medicine; stem fibers for rope, fabric, paper, etc. Jun–Oct [Online Interchange]
Unabridged note: It is very difficult to ascertain the true range for Cannabis sativa as a naturalized plant, since it is often illicitly planted in wild areas. The great majority of collections from California come from elevations below 600 m, but very few specimens from higher elevations (up to nearly 1500 m) have been seen. It is questionable whether the sp. is really established in California at elevations above 600 m.

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Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2013. Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015
Citation for this treatment: [Author of taxon treatment] 2013. Cannabis, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on Nov 30 2015

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Geographic subdivisions indicated for the distribution of Cannabis sativa Markers link to CCH specimen records. If the markers are obscured, reload the page [or change window size and reload]. Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).

View elevation by latitude chart
Data provided by the participants of the Consortium of California Herbaria.
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CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time.