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Hemp (Cannabis Sativa)
An annual plant belonging to the 'Cannabaceae' family. It originated in Asia, but has been cultivated in Northern Europe since medieval times for its fibres, which are produced from the outer layers of the stem - these are woven in lace, linen, rope and string. Sisal hemp - actually produced from the leaves of the 'Agave' species - and manilla hemp - obtained from 'Musa Texyilis' - are not true hemps, just an extention of the general name.
Certain varieties of true hemp are used to produce cannabis.
Hemp has been used as a nutritious food over the centuries, and is starting to make a revival - a Sussex company 'Motherhemp' - are producing ice cream, a form of hummus and pesto from the seeds. For more information see www.motherhemp.com