Hemp. A valuable plant possessing properties similar to flax and jute, supposed to be a native of India, but long since naturalized and cultivated in many countries of Europe, particularly Russia, where it forms an article of primary commercial importance. It is also cultivated in different parts of the United States, but not in such quantities as to supersede importation. The plant is an annual, with a rough, angular stem, from four to twelve feet high. It is stronger and coarser in the fiber than flax, but its culture and management are much the same. After hemp has been cut down with cradles, it is spread upon the ground in October or November, according to climate, and is then rotted by being exposed to the action of the dew and frost. This requires about two months, when the lint readily separates from the stalk. It is tough and strong, and peculiarly adapted for weaving into coarse fabrics such as sail-cloth, and twisting into ropes, cables and binding twine. As the ordianry material of ropes used for hanging, it is often the subject of humorous allusion; as hempen collar, the noose of the hangman's rope place around the neck; hempen widow, the widow of a man who has been hanged. Attempts to cultivate hemp in America were made early in the history of Plymouth and Virginia colonies. In Pennsylvania the colonial government offered bounties for its culture as early as 1730. These attempts were unsuccessful though of late years it has become a valuable agricultural product in the United States, particularly in Kentucky. It is cultivated to some extent in all the Northern states. Where cultivated for seed-bearing, hemp greatly exhausts the land. Cultivated for the fiber, it is but moderately exhaustive, and grows with such strength as to keep down weeds, so that it may be grown for many seasons on the same land. Considerable hemp plant has escaped from cultivation in the United States and naturalized itself on waste places in the vicinity of dwellings. In addition to the valuable fibre which the plant yields, it also furnishes two other valuable commercial products. One of these is the seed, which is used as food for cage-birds, and yeilds a large percentage of oil when pressed. This oil, of which Russia furnishes the principal supply, is used in the manufacture of soaps and varnishes, and also for burning. [See Cordage]