Are Hemp Botany and Cannabis Botany the Same?
Your first lesson in hemp botany is about the difference between hemp and cannabis. You may not know that hemp and cannabis are mostly considered the same plant. The distinction between the two is entirely a legal definition. Hemp becomes cannabis when it contains more than .3% THC. This chemical composition determines the way the growers cultivate the plant, its legal status, and its use. Both plants belong to the family, Cannabaceae, and genus Cannabis.
Hemp Botany Classifies Both as Cannabaceae
Members of the Cannabaceae family have several well-defined characteristics. Two defining characteristics are their status as both vascular and dioecious plants.
Most plants are vascular, and the few non-vascular plant types, such as bryophytes and some types of algae, are the evolutionary precursors to the vascular plants seen today.
Vascular plants have specialized tissues for moving materials through the plant. The xylem draws water and dissolved nutrients upward. In contrast, the phloem pulls sugars, amino acids, and other photosynthetic products from the leaves in a process called translocation.
Vascular plant classification further divides into how plants fertilize their seeds. If an ovary encloses the seed, then it is an angiosperm. If seeds develop without enclosure, then the plant classifies as a gymnosperm. Hemp, as a flowering plant with enclosed seed development, is an angiosperm.
Additionally, Dioecious means that the hemp plant develops either male or female sex organs. Female hemp plants are referred to as pistillate because they have pistils, which are female plant organs. On the other hand, male hemp plants are categorized as staminate. The male plant has stamens, the pollen-producing organ of the flower.
If a male plant sheds its pollen, the pollen will fertilize any surrounding pistillate plants, which will then produce seeds. When this fertilization occurs, the female plant will spend all of its energy on producing seeds instead of cannabinoids. Growers can manipulate female plants into flowering longer. Removing male plants from the nearby area helps female plants produce more cannabinoids and trichomes.
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