False hemp

(Datisca cannabina)



Datisca cannabina, called false hemp, is a species of flowering plant in the genus Datisca, family Datiscaceae, native to the Aegean Islands, Crete, Cyprus, Anatolia, the Levant, the Transcaucasus, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the western Himalayas and Nepal. It is one of the very few species known to have true androdioecy, meaning it has a mix of male and hermaphroditic individuals. Local artisans use its roots to produce a fast yellow dye. The Datiscaceae are a family of dicotyledonous plants, containing two species of the genus Datisca. Two other genera, Octomeles and Tetrameles, are now classified in the family Tetramelaceae. Datiscaceae are large herbaceous plants, with alternate and pinnate leaves. They are actinorhizal plants, that host nitrogen-fixing bacteria in their roots, and are the only ones that are non-woody, although non-actinorrhizal plants also fix nitrogen, such as the legumes. The genus Datisca contains two or three species; two from Asia and one from North America. The species Datisca cannabina is found in Crete and Turkey, and closely related Datisca nepalensis is found in the Himalayas, and is sometimes included in D. cannabina. It grows to about 2.0 m tall, and in May to August it produces small greenish-yellow flowers. This species is strictly dioecious, with male and female flowers on different plants. It is grown for ornamental foliage and can be used to produce a laxative and a yellow dye. The North American species Datisca glomerata is native to California, Nevada, and Mexico. This species is more or less dioecious, except that female plants may possess some bisexual flowers, as well.

Taxonomic tree:

Kingdom: Plantae
Phylum: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
News coming your way
The biggest news about our planet delivered to you each day