Herbs & Plants

Datisca cannabina

Botanical Name: Datisca cannabina
Family: Datiscaceae
Kingdom: Plantae
Order: Cucurbitales
Genus: Datisca
Species: D. cannabina

*Cannabina laevis Moench
*Datisca glabra Stokes
*Datisca nepalensis D.Don

Common Names: False hemp, Acalbir, Akalbir

Habitat: Datisca cannabina is native to the Aegean Islands, Crete, Cyprus, Anatolia, the Levant, the Transcaucasus, Iraq, Iran, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, the western Himalayas and Nepal. It grows on the banks of streams in rich alluvial soils.

Datisca cannabina is an erect, herbaceous perennial plant producing a clump of unbranched, arching stems from a somewhat woody base; it can grow around 1.8 m (6ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in). It is in flower in September, and the seeds ripen in October. The species is dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required). The plant is not self-fertile.The plant is harvested from the wild for local use as a medicine and as a dyestuff.


Requires a good deep soil and a sunny position. Plants can be grown in quite coarse grass, which can be cut annually in the autumn. This species is not hardy in the colder areas of the country, it tolerates temperatures down to between -5 and -10°c. Give the roots protection from winter frosts by mulching them. At one time this plant was commonly cultivated as a dye plant, but with the advent of chemical dyes it has fallen into disuse. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Through Seeds – sow spring in a greenhouse, only just covering the seed. Germination usually takes place within 1 – 3 weeks at 18°c. When large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and plant them out in the summer. Division in the spring. Very easy, larger clumps can be replanted direct into their permanent positions, though it is best to pot up smaller clumps and grow them on in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Edible Uses: Not Known.

Medicinal Uses:
The leaves and flowering stems are bitter, diuretic, febrifuge and purgative. The root is used as a sedative in the treatment of rheumatism. It is also applied to carious teeth.

Other Uses: A yellow dye is obtained from the leaves, root and stems.

Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.


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