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Plants That Look Like Cannabis

Cannabis is one of those plants that pretty much everyone over the age of 13 (for better or worse) can recognize. You can probably picture a cartoon version of this leafy, stalky, controversial plant in your mind if you try. Also called Marijuana, Hemp and weed or pot, Cannabis is versatile and common around the world for its innumerable useful properties. When I was living in West Philadelphia, police often raided houses after seeing some growing in a front yard. It was clear to everyone that this rogue sprout must have fallen from someone’s dime bag while waiting for the bus, or something similarly innocent. The cops never found anything in my neighbor’s houses, and it was almost silly to think that someone would intentionally grow outside their front stoop in the city.

The thing about this plant and almost all of its look-alikes is that they all grow like– well, a weed. Recently, I thought to myself, what if we planted non-Cannabis imposters all over the city, effectively normalizing its presence? Would these dope doppelgangers reduce the number of house raids on my neighbors? Would Cannabis copycats enrich the soil as Marijuana does? First, I needed to know what these plants were and if this plan even made any sense. It turns out, there are a handful of North American native Hemp look-alikes. One of my favorites is Cranberry Hibiscus. The rich purple color on these leaves looks a little more like a Japanese Maple than a Cannabis plant, though the leaf shape is a dead ringer for the five-fingered serrated edge green leaves we all know and love. The Cranberry Hibiscus grows in full sun as well as lightly shady areas and can bloom in the late fall and early winter in the U.S.

So Many Plants that Look Like Cannabis

Many people think that Wild Okra also looks similar to the plant that produces CBD. Their leaves have a similar personality, shape, and size. Okra, like cannabis, is also linked to protection from cancer and is a protocol for patients with some forms of cancer after it is detected in the body. Once you see the green rocket-shaped fruit shooting out of the plant’s center, however, it is clear that you are working with something very different.

The Texas Star Plant is also in the hibiscus family, so not unlike the Cranberry Hibiscus once it starts flowering it is hard to mistake for a Cannabis plant, however, before it blooms it can be a dead ringer for our green friend. This plant loves to be watered and bask in the sunlight, in order to produce it’s five-pointed star leaves, hence its name.

Cannabis is one of those plants that pretty much everyone over the age of 13 (for better or worse) can recognize. You can probably picture a cartoon version of this leafy, stalky, controversial plant in your mind if you try. Also called Marijuana, Hemp and weed or pot, Cannabis is…

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

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.

Some plants look like a pot, but in reality, it's not. Check out the list of 11 plants that look like weed when growing, and how to tell the difference.