Comprehensive Description


Erect, annual, aromatic herb (in ours). Latex 0. Stipules present. Leaves alternate or opposite, digitately 3-7(-11)-foliolate (in ours), the leaflets with a serrate margin. Plant dioecious. Male inflorescences laxly cymose-paniculate; perianth 5-lobed, 1-seriate. Female inflorescences short, compact; flowers subtended by a bract and an enveloping bracteole. Ovary superior. Fruit an achene.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats
Specimen Records:453
Specimens with Sequences:598
Specimens with Barcodes:420
Species With Barcodes:72
Public Records:210
Public Species:59
Public BINs:0
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Source: Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD)


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Barcode data

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Cannabaceae is a small family of flowering plants. As now circumscribed, the family includes about 170 species grouped in about 11 genera, including Cannabis (hemp), Humulus (hops) and Celtis (hackberries). Celtis is by far the largest genus, containing about 100 species.[1]

Other than a shared evolutionary origin (see Phylogeny below), members of the family have few common characteristics; some are trees (e.g. Celtis), others are herbaceous plants (e.g. Cannabis).


Members of this family can be trees (e.g. Celtis), erect herbs (e.g. Cannabis), or twining herbs (e.g. Humulus).[1]

Leaves are often more or less palmately lobed or palmately compound and always bear stipules. Cystoliths are always present and some members of this family possess laticifers.

Cannabaceae are often dioecious (distinct male and female plants). The flowers are actinomorphic (radially symmetrical) and not showy, as these plants are pollinated by the wind. As an adaptation to this kind of pollination, the calyx is short and there is no corolla. Flowers are grouped to form cymes. In the dioecious plants the masculine inflorescences are long and look like panicles, while the feminine are shorter and bear less flowers. The pistil is made of two connate carpels, the usually superior ovary is unilocular; there is no fixed number of stamens.

The fruit can be an achene or a drupe.


Classification systems developed prior to the 1990s, such as those of Cronquist (1981) and Dahlgren (1989), typically recognized the order Urticales, which included the families Cannabaceae, Cecropiaceae, Celtidaceae, Moraceae, Ulmaceae and Urticaceae, as then circumscribed. Molecular data from 1990s onwards showed that these families were actually embedded within the order Rosales, so that from the first classification by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Group in 1998, they were placed in an expanded Rosales, forming a group which has been called "urticalean rosids".[2]

A molecular phylogenetic study in 2002 produced the consensus tree shown below. This showed that the family Celtidaceae was paraphyletic if the Cannabaceae, as then circumscribed, were removed. Accordingly a single larger family was required, combining the two existing families. Under the rules of the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants, the oldest family name must be used: this is Cannabaceae.[2]

urticalean rosids


Cannabaceae s.l.







Urticaceae sensu lato


Cannabaceae s.s.

List of genera[edit]

Hops (Humulus lupulus) with nearly mature fruits

The following genera are listed by the Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, as of October 2011:[3]


Carbon dating has revealed that these plants may have been used for ritual/medicinal purposes in Xinjiang, China as early as 494 B.C.[4]

Hop (Humulus lupulus) has been a primary ingredient of beer for several hundred years. The flowers' resins are responsible for beer's bitterness and their ability to extend shelf life due to some anti-microbial qualities. The young shoots are used as vegetable.[citation needed]

Different subspecies of hemp (Cannabis sativa) are cultivated for the production of fiber, as a source of cheap oil, for the nutritious seeds, or it's edible leaves.

Species in the genus cannabis are cultivated for medical or recreational use as marijuana, primarily the sativa and indica species. Several selectively bred "strains" have been produced for higher yields of THC and other cannabinoids, as well as terpenes with desired flavors, such as blueberry.

Many trees in the genus Celtis are grown for landscaping and ornamental purposes.


  1. ^ a b c Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards) "Cannabaceae", Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 2014-02-25
  2. ^ a b c Sytsma, Kenneth J.; Morawetz, Jeffery; Pires, J. Chris; Nepokroeff, Molly; Conti, Elena; Zjhra, Michelle; Hall, Jocelyn C. & Chase, Mark W. (2002), "Urticalean rosids: circumscription, rosid ancestry, and phylogenetics based on rbcL, trnL-F, and ndhF sequences", American Journal of Botany 89 (9): 1531–1546, doi:10.3732/ajb.89.9.1531, PMID 21665755 
  3. ^ Stevens, P.F. (2001 onwards) "Cannabaceae Genera", Angiosperm Phylogeny Website, retrieved 2014-02-25
  4. ^ Jiang, Hong-En; Xiao Li, You-Xing Zhao, David K. Ferguson, Francis Hueber, Subir Bera, Yu-Fei Wang, Liang-Cheng Zhao, Chang-Jiang Liu, Cheng-Sin Li (December 2006), "A new insight into Cannabis sativa (Cannabaceae) utilization from 2500-year-old Yanghai Tombs, Xinjiang, China", Journal of Ethnopharmacology 108 (3): 414–422, doi:10.1016/j.jep.2006.05.034, PMID 16879937, retrieved 8 June 2012 
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