False Hemp Datisca cannabina

☠ Toxic to humans
🐾 Toxic to pets
🌸 Not blooming
🍪 Not edible
‍🌱 Easy-care
Cretan hemp


The plant known as false hemp has a striking and somewhat unusual appearance that draws visual comparisons to true hemp, although it is not related. This plant typically features pinnate leaves that grow in a lush green display, reminiscent of a fern or feathery foliage. The leaves are composed of several leaflets, which are elongated and organized on either side of a central stem. The overall foliage presentation is robust and somewhat bushy, contributing to a dense and green aspect. During the flowering phase, false hemp produces small and inconspicuous flowers. These flowers are usually arranged in spikes and can be found in shades of green or yellow, providing a subtlety that contrasts with the more vibrant foliage. There is a distinct sexual expression in this plant where male and female flowers grow on separate plants, known as dioecy. The male flowers are more structured in their arrangement, while the female flowers tend to be looser and less defined. After the flowering period, the plant produces clusters of fruits that follow the same subdued color palette, blending with the plant's overall color scheme. These characteristics contribute to a rustic charm that makes false hemp a unique addition to any garden or natural space where it can grow freely. Despite its name and visual similarities to true hemp, it should be noted that it bears no actual relation to the cannabis plant.

Plant Info
Common Problems

About this plant

  • memoNames

    • Family


    • Synonyms

      False Hemp, Datisca

    • Common names

      Datisca cannabina L., Datisca glomerata Presl.

  • skullToxicity

    • To humans

      False hemp (Datisca cannabina) is generally not well-documented for its effects on human health. However, due to the lack of specific information regarding its toxicity to humans, it is prudent to handle it with care and to avoid ingesting any part of the plant. If a plant is not well-studied for its effects on humans, it is possible that it could contain compounds that are irritating or potentially harmful. If you suspect poisoning from any plant, including false hemp, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

    • To pets

      False hemp (Datisca cannabina) has not been specifically reported to be toxic to pets. However, due to the lack of detailed research on its effects on pets, caution is advised. Pet owners should prevent their animals from ingesting parts of this or any unknown plants. If a pet ingests any part of this plant and shows signs of distress such as vomiting, diarrhea, drooling, or changes in behavior, it is important to consult a veterinarian as soon as possible.

  • infoCharacteristics

    • Life cycle


    • Foliage type


    • Color of leaves


    • Flower color


    • Height

      6-9 feet (1.8-2.7 meters)

    • Spread

      6-9 feet (1.8-2.7 meters)

    • Plant type


    • Hardiness zones


    • Native area



  • money-bagGeneral Benefits

    • Soil Improvement: Datisca cannabina, also known as false hemp, can be used as a green manure or cover crop, enriching the soil with organic matter and improving soil structure.
    • Nitrogen Fixation: As a member of the legume family, it has the capability to fix atmospheric nitrogen, which is beneficial for soil fertility and reduces the need for chemical fertilizers.
    • Erosion Control: Its robust root system helps stabilize the soil, reducing the risk of erosion on slopes and disturbed areas.
    • Fodder: False hemp can be used as animal fodder, providing a source of feed for livestock.
    • Biodiversity: It can enhance biodiversity by providing habitat and food for a range of insects and animals within an ecosystem.
    • Horticultural Use: False hemp can be used in horticulture for its aesthetic appeal due to its height and bushy appearance.
    • Companion Planting: It may be useful in companion planting schemes to utilize its nitrogen-fixing ability to benefit neighboring plants.
    • Economic Crop: In some regions, Datisca cannabina may have potential as a crop for producing fiber or for use in dyes and textiles.

  • medicalMedical Properties

    • Diuretic: Traditionally used to increase urine flow.
    • Anthelmintic: Employed in treating parasitic worm infections.

  • windAir-purifying Qualities

    This plant is not specifically known for air purifying qualities.

  • leavesOther Uses

    • Datisca cannabina fibers can be used to make a type of cloth, similar to hemp, which is durable and can be used in textile production.
    • The leaves of Datisca cannabina can serve as a natural dye, producing a yellow color for fabric and other materials.
    • In traditional construction, the fibrous material from the plant's stems has been used for caulking wooden boats or as cordage material.
    • The plant can also be used in basket weaving; its flexible stems and fibers make it suitable for crafting various types of baskets.
    • Datisca cannabina stems can be repurposed as a natural brush or broom after being dried and bundled together.
    • The juice extracted from the plant has been used as an ink or writing fluid in certain traditional practices.
    • Landscapers sometimes utilize this plant for ornamental purposes due to its unique and robust foliage, adding an aesthetic appeal to gardens.
    • As a nitrogen-fixing plant, Datisca cannabina can be used in crop rotation to enhance soil fertility in agricultural practices.
    • Its dense growth can help in erosion control by stabilizing soil and preventing the loss of topsoil in windy or water-prone areas.
    • Datisca cannabina's root system may be used to create natural barriers or living fences as they can grow thickly and become entangled.

Interesting Facts

  • bedFeng Shui

    The False Hemp is not used in Feng Shui practice.

  • aquariusZodiac Sign Compitability

    The False Hemp is not used in astrology practice.

  • spiralPlant Symbolism

    • Resilience: Datisca cannabina, commonly known as False Hemp, often thrives in challenging environments, symbolizing the ability to endure and adapt in the face of adversity.
    • Adaptability: Its ability to grow in various conditions makes it a symbol for flexibility and the capacity to adjust to different situations in life.
    • Resourcefulness: Since the plant has uses in traditional medicine and other applications, it represents making the best out of available resources and the clever use of what one has at hand.

Every 2 weeks
2500 - 10000 Lux
Every year
Spring to early summer
As needed
  • water dropWater

    False hemp should be watered deeply to encourage a strong root system, which usually means applying about 1-2 gallons of water per plant every week during the active growing season. During periods of drought or extreme heat, the frequency of watering may need to increase to twice a week. It is important to avoid overwatering as this can lead to root rot, so allow the soil to dry slightly between waterings. In the winter, reduce watering significantly since the plant requires less moisture when dormant.

  • sunLight

    False hemp thrives in full sunlight, so it is best to plant it in a spot where it can receive at least 6 to 8 hours of direct sunlight each day. Although it can tolerate some light shade, too much shade can result in leggy growth and fewer flowers. The ideal location is an open area away from the shade of buildings or trees.

  • thermometerTemperature

    False hemp grows best within a temperature range of 50°F to 90°F and can survive minimum temperatures down to about 25°F. Ideal growing conditions are warm days and cooler nights that fall within the aforementioned temperature range. Avoid planting it in locations where temperatures may drop below 25°F without protection, as frost can damage or kill the plant.

  • scissorsPruning

    False hemp should be pruned to maintain shape and encourage bushier growth. Prune in the late winter or early spring before new growth begins. Cut back old stems to improve air circulation and reduce the risk of disease. Occasionally, it might be necessary to remove dead or damaged branches throughout the year.

  • broomCleaning

    Not needed

  • bambooSoil

    False hemp (Datisca cannabina) thrives in well-draining, loamy soil; a blend of garden soil with perlite and peat should be ideal. Keep soil pH slightly acidic to neutral, around 6.0 to 7.0.

  • plantRepotting

    False hemp should be repotted every 2-3 years to avoid becoming root-bound and to replenish its nutrients.

  • water dropsHumidity & Misting

    False hemp prefers moderate humidity levels, but is relatively adaptable to different humidity conditions as long as it is not too dry.

  • pinSuitable locations

    • Indoor

      Ensure bright, indirect light and room to grow.

    • Outdoor

      Plant in full sun to partial shade; protect from strong winds.

    • Hardiness zone

      7-10 USDA

  • circleLife cycle

    Datisca cannabina, also known as false hemp, starts its life cycle with seed germination, typically in spring with suitable light, temperature, and moisture conditions. The seedlings grow and develop into robust, herbaceous perennial plants, which can reach 2 to 3 meters in height. The plant develops compound leaves and as it matures, it forms separate male and female flowers on different plants, exhibiting dioecious characteristics. After pollination, usually facilitated by the wind due to its dioecious nature, the female plants produce fruit that takes the form of a small, dry schizocarp containing seeds. These seeds are then dispersed by various mechanisms including wind and animals, allowing the plant to colonize new areas. The false hemp enters a period of dormancy during the winter months, dying back to the rhizome to conserve energy before re-emerging in the following spring to repeat the cycle.

  • sproutPropogation

    • Propogation time

      Spring to early summer

    • The most common method of propagation for Datisca cannabina, also known as false hemp, is through seeds. To achieve the best results, seeds should be sown in a cold frame as soon as they are ripe. Typically, this would be in late summer to early fall, corresponding to the time when the seeds naturally mature and drop from the plant. Sowing the seeds in well-drained soil and lightly covering them with soil ensures optimal conditions for germination. Seedlings need to be kept moist but not waterlogged and should be allowed to grow until they are strong enough to handle being transplanted. Once they have developed several true leaves and are hardy enough, they can be moved to individual pots or directly to their final location in the garden during the spring following sowing, allowing them to establish a robust root system before the growing season.