This section is from the book "The Standard Cyclopedia Of Horticulture Vol2", by L. H. Bailey. See also: Western Garden Book: More than 8,000 Plants - The Right Plants for Your Climate - Tips from Western Garden Experts.
(the ancient Greek name). Moraceae. Hemp. A widely cultivated fiber plant, and also used occasionally as an ornamental subject, being grown from seeds and treated as a half-hardy annual.
Hemp is dioecious: staminate flowers in axillary panicles, with 5 sepals and 5 drooping stamens and no petals; pistillate flowers in short spikes, with 1 sepal folding about the ovary: leaves digitate, with 5-7 nearly linear, coarse-toothed leaflets: fruit a hard and brittle achene. C. sativa, Linn., probably native in Cent. Asia, is now escaped in many parts of the world: tall, rough and strong-smelling, 8-12 ft.: leaflets 5-11, linear-lanceolate, toothed, the upper leaves alternate and the others more or less opposite. Only one species, but various forms have received specific names. In gardens, the form known as C. gigantea is commonest; this reaches a height of 10 ft. and more. The seeds are usually sown where the plants are to stand; but if quick effects are wanted, they may be started indoors in pots or boxes. Hemp makes excellent screens in remote places. It thrives best in a rich rather moist soil. For field cultivation for fiber (which is derived from the inner bark), see Cyclo. Amer. Agric, Vol. II, p. 377. L. H. B.