hemp


hemp
hemplike, adj.
/hemp/, n.
1. Also called Indian hemp, marijuana. a tall, coarse plant, Cannabis sativa, that is native to Asia but naturalized or cultivated in many parts of the world and is the source of a valuable fiber as well as drugs such as marijuana and hashish. Cf. cannabis.
2. the tough fiber of this plant, used for making rope, coarse fabric, etc.
3. any of various plants resembling hemp.
4. any of various fibers similar to hemp.
5. a narcotic drug, as marijuana or hashish, prepared from the hemp plant.
[bef. 1000; ME; OE henep, haenep; c. G Hanf, Gk kánnabis]

* * *

Stout, aromatic, erect annual herbaceous plant (Cannabis sativa, family Cannabaceae), the sole species of cannabis; also, its fibre.

Hemp originated in Central Asia and is now cultivated widely in the northern temperate zone. A tall, canelike variety is raised for the fibre; a short, more branched variety is prized as the more abundant source of marijuana. Hemp fibre is strong and durable and is used for cordage and for artificial sponges and such coarse fabrics as sacking (burlap) and canvas. Hemp is grown primarily for fibre in most countries.

Hemp (Cannabis sativa)

John Kohout from Root Resources

* * *

plant
 (species Cannabis sativa), plant of the family Cannabaceae and its fibre, one of the bast fibre group. The plant is also grown for its seed, which contains about 30 percent oil, and for the drugs marijuana and hashish derived from its leaves and blossoms.

      Hemp originated in Central Asia, and its cultivation for fibre, recorded in China as early as 2800 BC, was practiced in the Mediterranean countries of Europe early in the Christian era, spreading throughout the rest of Europe during the Middle Ages. In the New World it was planted in Chile in the 1500s and a century later in North America.

      Hemp, growing in temperate zones, is an annual cultivated from seed, reaching a height of up to 16 feet (5 metres). Crops cultivated for fibre are densely sowed and produce plants averaging 6 to 10 feet (2 to 3 metres) tall with almost no branching. Plants grown for oilseed or drugs, planted farther apart, are shorter and many-branched. The slender stalks are hollow except at the tip and base. The leaves are compound with palmate shape, and the flowers are small and greenish yellow. Seed-producing flowers form elongate, spikelike clusters growing on the pistillate, or female, plants; pollen-producing flowers form many-branched clusters on staminate, or male, plants.

      Crops grow best in sandy loam with good drainage and require average monthly rainfall of at least 2.5 inches (65 mm) throughout the growing season. Maximum yield and quality are obtained by harvesting soon after the plants reach maturity, indicated by the full blossoms and freely shedding pollen of the male plants. Although sometimes pulled up by hand, plants are more often cut off about an inch (2 to 3 cm) above the ground.

      Fibres are obtained by subjecting the stalks to a series of operations—including retting, drying, and crushing—and a shaking process that completes separation from the woody portion, releasing the long, fairly straight fibre, or line. The fibre strands, usually over 5.8 feet (1.8 metres) long, are made of individual cylindrical cells with an irregular surface. The fibre, longer and less flexible than flax, is usually yellowish, greenish, or a dark brown or gray and, because it is not easily bleached to sufficiently light shades, is rarely dyed. It is strong and durable and is used for cordage—e.g., twine, yarn, rope, cable, and string—and for artificial sponges and such coarse fabrics as sacking (burlap) and canvas. In Italy some hemp receives special processing, producing whitish colour and attractive lustre, and is used to make fabric similar to linen. Other plant fibres used for cordage have been incorrectly called hemp, but only the hemp plant yields true hemp.

      The oil obtained from hempseed can be used to make paints, varnishes, soaps, and edible oil; but the seed's chief commercial use has been for caged-bird feed. Hemp is grown primarily for fibre in most countries. Leading producers include India, Romania, China, Hungary, Poland, and Turkey. The largest of the importers are Italy, the United Kingdom, Belgium, Germany, and France.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hemp — (h[e^]mp), n. [OE. hemp, AS. henep, h[ae]nep; akin to D. hennep, OHG. hanaf, G. hanf, Icel. hampr, Dan. hamp, Sw. hampa, L. cannabis, cannabum, Gr. ka nnabis, ka nnabos; cf. Russ. konoplia, Skr. [,c]a[.n]a; all prob. borrowed from some other… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • HEMP — HEMP, the plant Cannabis sativa called kanbus in talmudic literature. The Mishnah speaks of its fibers as being woven with or without linen (Kil. 9:1). The prohibition of sha atnez ( the mixture of wool and linen ) did not apply to coarse… …   Encyclopedia of Judaism

  • hemp — [hemp] n. [ME < OE hænep (akin to Ger hanf, Du hennep) < PGmc * hanapa < * kanab , a pre Gmc borrowing < a (? Scythian) base > Gr kannabis: akin ? to Sumerian kunibu, hemp] 1. a) a tall Asiatic herb (Cannabis sativa) of the hemp… …   English World dictionary

  • hemp — n 1) a tall widely cultivated Asian herb of the genus Cannabis (C. sativa) with strong woody fiber used esp. for cordage 2) the fiber of hemp 3) a psychoactive drug (as marijuana or hashish) from hemp * * * n. see cannabis …   Medical dictionary

  • hemp — [ hemp ] noun uncount a plant with strong stems used for making rope. The drug MARIJUANA is made from some types of hemp …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • hemp — O.E. hænep hemp, cannabis sativa, from P.Gmc. *hanapiz (Cf. O.S. hanap, O.N. hampr, O.H.G. hanaf, Ger. Hanf), probably a very early Germanic borrowing of the same Scythian word that became Gk. kannabis (see CANNABIS (Cf. cannabis)). As the name… …   Etymology dictionary

  • hemp — n. type of plant native to Asia; fiber from the hemp plant (used to make rope or twine); hashish, marijuana, narcotic substance from the hemp plant …   English contemporary dictionary

  • hemp|en — «HEHM puhn», adjective. 1. made of hemp. 2. of or like hemp …   Useful english dictionary

  • hemp — [hemp] n [U] [: Old English; Origin: hAnep] a type of plant that is used to make rope and sometimes to produce the drug ↑cannabis …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • hemp — hemp; hemp·en; …   English syllables

  • hemp — ► NOUN 1) (also Indian hemp) the cannabis plant. 2) the fibre of this plant, extracted from the stem and used to make rope, strong fabrics, paper, etc. 3) the drug cannabis. ORIGIN Old English …   English terms dictionary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.