Annual or perennial herbs or trees. Leaves opposite at least below, in Cannabis commonly alternate above, palmately-lobed or palmately-compound, or sometimes leaves simple and and unlobed; stipules triangular, free, persistent. Plant monoecious or usually dioecious, with small unisexual flowers. Inflorescences cymose, axillary in upper leaves. Male inflorescences more or less loose, branched, and many-flowered; female inflorescences more compact and few-flowered. Male flowers pedicellate, with 5 free sepals, and free 5 stamens opposite the sepals, petals absent, pistillodes sometime present. Female flowers stalkless, with a tubular calyx enveloping the ovary. Ovary solitary, superior, 1-chambered with 1 ovule; styles 2. Fruit a drupe, nut or achene, subtended by whole or part of perianth or bract.
Cannabis is the source of fibre, oils and narcotic drugs. Humulus lupulus (Hops) is used for brewing beer.
11 genera, c. 170 species, cosmopolitan, temperate and tropical regions; 5 genera (2 not native) and c. 12 spp. in Australia.
Created by: Val Stajsic
Updated by: Val Stajsic, March 2018