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common name: Hemp
dry soil, moist soil, clay soil, sandy soil
preferred soil pH: neutral-alkaline
minimum temp: 1°C
USDA zone: 9 to 11
Vigorous, branching annual of tall, rather lax growth habit. Distinctive, aromatic, palmate leaves with usually 7, but may be 3 to 11, narrow, pointed, toothed leaflets. Dioceious species with separate plants carrying large panicles of male flowers or smaller leafy spikes of female flowers. The flowers themselves are tiny and yellowish green. Very variable in form and size depending on the area and climate. There are many cultivar varieties and strains, as well as some hybrids with other species.
Thrives best in well drained, humus rich, loamy soil with full sun, but is quite adaptable to a wide range of conditions. Needs fairly warm temperatures during the growing season.
Cultivation is generally restricted by law, being either illegal or controlled by license.
Historically important, with many uses. Extensive grown to produce fibre for making rope.
Commonly used by many cultures as a medicinal and sometimes culinary herb. Seeds can be pressed to extract help oil, which has high nutritional value and good health benifits. It is a rich source of both Omega3 and Omega-6 fatty acids that hemp oil provides in a 1:3 ratio, therefore matching the requirements of the human body.
Infamous for its use over thousands of years as a narcotic. Growth and use for this purpose is illegal in most countries, but this is often defined by the percentage content of the active compound tetrahydrocannabinol (THC).
The various strains produce powerful and complex natural chemical substances and its potential value to modern medicine is currently being re-assessed.
Probably native to central and western Asia, but introduced into many other temperate and tropical areas. Often occurs as a weed of wastegrounds.