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Historic London Town and Gardens

Botanist’s Lens: Pot or Not?

One glance at the leaves in the pictures, and your trail of thoughts might be leading you to wonder if this is ‘pot’ or not?

The shape of the leaves is far more popular for Cannabis sps. than what it actually is. Before you look at the leaves closely again, here is an interesting fact: Cannabis falls in the Cannabaceae family which is the same family as Hops (Humulus) and Hackberry (Celtis)! All three genera have very different growth habits: one is an erect herb, one is a vine, and the other is a tree!

By now, I am sure its already crossed your mind, did I find the leaves at London Town? Yes, of course! They are very well flourishing in our woodland gardens and plant holding facility. In fact you could get one plant at our next plant sale in April 2019 in 1, 3 or 5 gal containers. It is a very sought after plant after all!

Or at least that’s what any botanist would hope. For they are leaves of an excellent semi shade loving small tree with cascading branches filled with leaves of delicate ‘simple’ beauty.

Have a close look at the leaves again, they are very much simple – not compound – and nope, they are not ‘pot’ leaves, but they belong to one of the most elegant and delicate small trees: Japanese Maple: Acer palmatum.

The word ‘simple’ in botanist lingo doesn’t just mean ‘opposite of complex’. Well, nothing in nature is simple, and sadly nor are we treading our land in simple ways any more. But when I hear the word ‘simple’ in reference to leaves, it tells me the anatomy of the leaf which then leads to the next clue of what family it might belong to.

There are many details in the leaves and stem that can help identify a Maple vs Cannabis leaf. However, one very sure and quick way to differentiate between Cannabis and Acer plamatum leaves, even though both are palmate shape (palm of a hand) is that Cannabis leaves are compound and Acer sps. have simple leaves. Good examples for compound leaves are Rose, Holly, Chestnut or Elm, and good examples of simple leaves are: Oak, Sycamore, Redbud, etc.

Japanese Maples grow well in dappled shade and they prefer a slightly acidic soil which is moist but drains well. You can enjoy the simple beauty of these delicate Maples in our woodland gardens this summer. Keep it simple!

– Meenal Harankhedkar, Director of Horticulture
# BotanistsLens # Ltwhatsinbloom

Historic London Town and Gardens

Nature is versatile, flamboyant and subtle all at the same time. Everything aside, it is transient. Changing lifecycles, seasons and patterns of growth, diversify landscape colors throughout the year. For us in the eastern Mid-Atlantic, we get to enjoy landscape canvases turn around with varied color palettes in good four full seasons.

Give a clean canvas to an artistic gardener and the rest is a colorful story. London Town gardens has had two outstanding artists that have colored the woodland landscapes specifically keeping four seasons in mind and given us ample canvas colors to enjoy.

One of my favorite landscape canvas in the gardens is the Azalea glade in the woodland gardens, which is a steep ravine with Azaleas growing on either side. Tony Dove (Director of Horticulture in the 80’s-90’s) added diverse array of Azaleas, that light up the canvas of the ravine with pastels and pinks throughout spring. The upper canopy layer at that time turns lime light green with new leaves of Maples. The same Maples then turn flamboyant red in fall and completely turn over the color pallet of the ravine canvas. In deep summer, the greens bounce off with the beige-grey stairs colors and the blue of the river in the background.

When planting Azaleas, think of summer-fall colors of the canvas you are adding them too. Then you wont have to wait around for only one highlight color plant to change color.

Another landscape artiste at London Town, Cathy Umphrey (Director of Horticulture in early 2000) planted a highly versatile Hakonechola grass in select sections in the woodland gardens. Nooks and corners that otherwise go unnoticed, come alive in summer and fall. Hakone grass is versatile and its leaves turn crisp chartreuse green-white in summer and in fall they change to yellow-orange-beige shades, leaving ample color for an otherwise dull canvas. In one particular section, Cathy brilliantly bounced off the bronze-yellow of the Hakonechola with Red Maple in the backdrop. A landscape canvas to hold your breath for!

For sunny areas, try yellows with deep greens in the backdrop. Rudbeckias are the highlight in our ornamental Hall gardens pollinator section. The backdrop is deep green Magnolias and other cottage garden plants that have either slowed down or are picking up right when Rudbeckias are at their best.

Next week, let’s look at ‘Moon gardens’. In landscape canvas art, white at night is brilliant! White mixes excellently in landscapes of either deep shade or fun bright sun. Color combinations in nature itself are exquisite and extremely diverse. But when one can play with these colors and mix them up for seasonal changes, it is the most fun form of coloring.

While plants combinations are key, also think of hardscapes around the plants for color choices and natural elements of water. The yellow knock out rose in the ornamental garden was still knocking out the winter winds, as late as last week. With the deep blue of the South river in the backdrop, doesn’t that make a colorful landscape canvas? -Meenal Harankhedkar, Director of Horticulture

Botanist's Lens: Pot or Not? One glance at the leaves in the pictures, and your trail of thoughts might be leading you to wonder if this is 'pot' or…

11 Plants That Look Like Weed But Are Entirely Legal (With Pictures)

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Experienced gardeners know about the plants they are growing. They understand how the plant looks like when growing or fully grown.

But sometimes beginner gardeners often get confused with the plants that look like weed but isn’t a weed.

This happens so often that you may imagine that law enforcement may not get confused about plants’ similarity with other weed-like plants.

Let’s look at 11 plants that often get mistaken to be weeds.

1. Japanese Maple

Japanese maples are plants that look like a weed. You can grow it in a container or outside in the garden. It comes in several different varieties with different styles of leaf shape and color.

When the plant is still at a growing stage and has green leaves, it looks like Cannabis. This cannabis look-alike plant grows in Japan, Korea, and central China.

2. Coral Plant

The Coral plant is also known as Jathroha Multifida and has leaves that look very similar to weeds. Many people get confused with the texture and style of its leaves, which has sharp cuts and more extended sizes.

This is a tropical plant and grown primarily for its leaves and red flower bunch. This plant looks so similar to wild weed that some dealers try to sell it as a real weed to unknown marijuana users.

It’s mainly found in Mexico and Central America as the weather is more tropical at those places.

3. Okra

Okra is another plant that looks like a weed, especially its buds look very similar to weed buds. In fact, this has such a similarity with the illegal pot that cops in Cartersville mistook it to be weed and arrested a man who had grown Okra in his garden.

In reality, the Okra is an edible plant that is usually grown in warm and tropical climates such as in South Africa and Asia. Many southeast Indian cuisines use Okra in several of their dishes.

If you mistook Okra to be Cannabis and eat it, then don’t worry, as it has lots of nutrients which is right for your body.

4. Cranberry Hibiscus

Cranberry Hibiscus has a Latin name of Hibiscus Acetosella and is also known as African Rosemallow. It has large colorful leaves that look like cannabis leaves.

Once fully grown, the leaves turn out to be broader and look like a Maple leaf, but it can be easily mistaken for cannabis leaves when the plant is still growing.

Due to its high similarity with the marijuana plants, people like to plant it in either container or indoors when it’s small. After it has started blooming, the flower and leaves look quite different than weeds plants.

You can use the flowers and leaves of the Cranberry Hibiscus with salads or other dishes or use them as a natural food color.

The plant looks like a weed, but it has no THC, you won’t get high after consuming it.

5. Cassava

Cassava is mainly known for its medicinal properties of the roots. The roots are quite poisonous if you eat raw. To eat it, you have to cook it properly, which removes the harmful hydrocyanic acid from the root.

The leaves of Cassava look like marijuana as it has light greenish color leaves like Cannabis. The leaves are directly attached to the stem and are grown in the bunch.

However, its similarity to the weed ends there. It’s grown for the starch and used for human and industrial consumption.

6. Sweetfern

Sweetfern is a primarily invasive weed, which grows in the yards and garden. It’s part of the bayberry family and native to eastern Canada and the U.S.

Its fern-like leaves give the appearance of marijuana leaves, but it’s quite aromatic when rubbed. These smells feel similar to smokable pots that make people get confused as they think that it’s some different variety of Cannabis.

The leaves grow in multiple bunches from a single stem. As the plant grows further, the leaves spread out. It’s entirely legal to grow sweetfern wherever you want.

Although the plant looks like a weed, in reality, it’s just another herbal plant.

7. Cleome

Cleome may not look like a wild weed plant when its flowered with bright red and purple color flowers. But while growing up, it gives the appearance of weeds. The leaves are long and spikey similar to a pot.

The Cleome flower is also known as spider flower due to its long tentacles stretching from the flower stem. It typically blooms in summer and lasts till the frost starts.

You can plant Cleome as an edible plant. It also attracts beneficial insects in the garden.

8. Texas Star Hibiscus

Texas Star Hibiscus is a slender, multi-branched plant that has leaves grown like Cannabis. The bright green color leaves don’t have very sharp pointy edges, but its long thin textured leaves create the illusion of a cannabis plant.

For people familiar with the pot or have experience growing it, they won’t consider the Texas Star Hibiscus plant to look like weed. Still, for casual users, they may indeed get confused.

When fully grown, it blooms crimson red or white color floor, but at the growing stage, it resembles more to the pot plant.

As the name suggests, the natural growing area of this plant is in Texas with flower blooming time from June to October. This is a very versatile plant and can be grown in moist and well-drained soil. It needs full sunlight to flourish and are perennial in nature.

9. Kenaf

Kenaf is known as Hibiscus Cannabinus in the scientific community. It’s grown primarily for food and fiber. But these plants resemble so much like a weed that your home visitors may think that you are into some bad company.

Like other commonly mistaken plants that look like weed, Kenaf has considerable similarity to Cannabis plants. This similar characteristic comes from the texture and leaf size of the plant.

It has star-shaped leaves with serrated edges. A stem may have a collective bunch of 7 blades that look similar to marijuana plant leaves.

In fact, this plant looks so similar to Cannabis that its scientific name has Cannabis terminology in it.

Just be careful when growing Kenaf in your home as you don’t want your concerned neighbour to call the police and report you to have illegal grow up.

10. Tagetes Minuta

Tagetes Minuta is also commonly known as Muster-John-Henry. It grows up to 1.2 m in length and 0.6 m in width, similar to cannabis plants.

The leaves are long, elongated, and finely serrated resemble the pot leaves. When the leaves are rubbed, it smells like a licorices.

With fully-grown stems, the plant blooms white and yellowish flowers, which gives the telltale sign that it’s not a weed plant. But when it’s small and growing, the plant looks like very much a weed plant.

The Tagetes Minuta is a native to South America, but it’s also commonly grown in other parts of the world. The plant has several medicinal properties as it found to be invasive and effective in controlling fungi, bacteria, and roundworms.

11. Chaste Tree

The Chaste Tree, when fully grown, does not look like a wild weed. But when it’s still small and growing up, the plant looks very similar to a pot. The leaves are long and serrated like Cannabis, and each stem contains 5 to 6 leaves like hemp or other cannabis leaves.

When fully grown, it doesn’t look like shrub anymore and becomes easy to know that this is not a weed plant. But at the initial stage, the plant has a very high resemblance to the weed.

Overall, the plant grows 8 to 12 feet tall and wide. The leaves are quite aromatic, and the plant bears the violet color flowers. The flower grows like a lavender, which, when bloomed, attracts bees, butterflies, and other beneficial insects in the garden.

You should regularly prune the chaste tree plants as if left unchecked it can grow up to 15 to 20 feet tall. The pruning shears helps with shaping and adequately sizing the plant.

About Plants That Look Like Weed: Final Thought

Although marijuana plants are becoming legal in most parts of the world, such as in Canada and some parts of the U.S, it’s still widely considered to be illegal in most of the places.

The cannabis plants have a distinct look, and the hallmark of their appearance is the leaf. The long serrated and pointed leaves give the telltale sign that it’s a marijuana plant.

Many companies also use pot leaves distinct looks like a representation of hemp. This creates confusion for people who are not actually familiar with the marijuana plant. They often mistakenly assume plants with similar leave to be a pot plant.

In some cases, it may cause inconvenience to the planter as the law enforcement gets involved in investigating if you are doing illegal grow up.

Knowing the plants that look like weed gives you some caution before planting or explaining it to your suspicious neighbour before they dial law enforcement to report about you wrongly.

11 Plants That Look Like Weed But Are Entirely Legal (With Pictures) About GearTrench GearTrench is here to share about gardening and home decoration tips to those that want to have a lush