The Top 10 Plants that Look Like Cannabis

The grizzled edges of a marijuana leaf aren’t as unique as you think.

These leaves are often confused with a number of other plants in your garden. In fact, a simple walk to the local park may showcase some of these legal plants in broad daylight!

These perfectly innocent plants have got people raided by the police or worse.

Japanese Maple


The Japanese Maple is synonymous with autumn because of its scintillating colors.

The reason it is confused with marijuana has to do with how it grows. It starts as a small plant but can quietly grow into a diminutive tree with leaves that have a similar feel to marijuana.

Since the Japanese Maple’s leaves look similar, it is often difficult to distinguish between both natural wonders.

Japanese Maple leaves don’t always grow to be the same and certain lobes can vary depending on where it’s grown. For example, Asian versions tend to have a greener set of leaves while something in North America would have more of a reddish and/or purplish hue.

Of course, there are a lot of differences between the two and it’s important to keep an eye out for them. One of those differences would be the diverse sepals/petals that tend to change colors during the autumn.



Good for keeping away evil sprits but might attract police. A plant that has been used as a culinary herb and medicinally throughout the world for centuries.

Mugwort has many uses, from insect repellent to flavouring food and even beer. The plant grows around the world and in the Far East, it is used as a medicine. In medieval Europe it was said to have magical properties. Mugwort could protect from evil spits and wild animals, and remedy fatigue. All that aside, one of the less useful properties of Mugwort is that it smells exactly like weed – several people have reported having to answer awkward questions from neighbours after planting it.

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Chaste Tree


The chaste tree is a unique one because it is a well-grown plant that has quite the presence.

While this isn’t as serious as some of the other suggestions, it does look like marijuana when you take away the leaves. Of course, with the flowers, you get something that is far more complex, refined, and colorful compared to the traditional marijuana that’s grown by professionals.

In this case, the chaste tree tends to have small leaflets that spread from one end to the other. In this case, you will not be getting high off of a local chaste tree! It was at one point deemed to be one of the purest plants in all of Asia and was often used by religious leaders as a spiritual cleanser.

Coral Plant


This attractive flowering plant in the spurge family has leaves that look like marijuana; however, the milky latex, bright blooms and fleshy stems rapidly rule it out. Before flowering it could perhaps be mistaken for pot; afterwards, there’s no way.

Spider Flowers


Cleome or Spider flower leaves reportedly look and smell a lot like cannabis.

One social media user said he was actually able to fool his friend’s younger brother with leaves.

“One time, over 10 years ago, I found a cleome plant and was like ‘wow, looks like weed’ and jokingly grabbed a bunch of leaves and pressed them in a book.

“Later, they were dried up and we found them during class, a friend crumbled them up and put them in a bag, and then eventually sold it to his younger brother. His brother smoked it with his friends and came back for more.”

Cranberry Hibiscus


This member of the hibiscus family is often planted as an ornamental in warmer climates. It’s a perennial shrub with pink blooms that have burgundy throats. The leaves are edible raw or cooked, with a tart, lemony flavor.

If you were colorblind you might get worried about this one; otherwise, the red leaves should convince you that your potential criminal is just a plant enthusiast, not a drug dealer.

If the suspect has a tattoo of Bob Marley with a hookah beneath a glowing mushroom, however, all bets are off.



I don’t really think cassava looks like marijuana, though people do joke about it when they visit my place. Cassava is a tropical root crop with tall stems that just look… well… tropical! The only real resemblance it has to marijuana is the palmate leaves. The giveaway, other than the growth habit, is the fact that marijuana leaves have toothed edges and cassava does not.



The leaves of the Okra plant have often been compared to marijuana leaves. There have been situations where this has duped some of the finest experts in the world. It gets worse because a lot of people tend to grow okra right at home!

With this particular plant being a home gardening classic, it’s important to know the differences. The reason okra resembles marijuana has to do with the leafy nature of this plant and how its leaves look when grown out.

The only way you are able to tell the difference is by looking at how many leaves are present. For example, cannabis is going to have at least 7-9 leaves while the okra isn’t going to extend past five.

As soon as you go past five, it means you’re dealing with cannabis. This is a simple rule of thumb that’s followed by law enforcement because it can become quite difficult to manage.



While most of the world uses this plant for its oil, it has also been helpful over the years for making bags. The fiber that comes from this plant is some of the strongest on the planet making it a useful resource on its own.

However, when it comes to the cannabis plant, this does look similar and can confuse people.

When this is being grown out in large numbers, it can start to confuse people as looking the same as marijuana. The plant tends to grow tall and that is why people claim it has a similar appearance to cannabis.

However, similar to other names on this list, it all comes down to counting the lobes. How many are there on the kenaf compared to cannabis?

With the kenaf, you are looking at 3-7 lobes, while cannabis tends to go all the way up to 9.



Who would have thought growing tomatoes could lead to police arresting your dog?

Police raided a 79-year-old widow’s highland cottage in 2008 after mistaking her tomato plants for a cannabis factory. Officer’s tore Lulu Matheson’s house apart and ‘arrested’ her Labrador and Jack Russell dogs after they mistook the tomato plants growing on a windowsill for cannabis.

With marijuana growing in popularity, as it has become legal at the state level in more places around the U.S., a lot of people are beginning to understand the potential beauty of this natural plant.

However, it is still noted as looking similar to a number of other plants including the ones mentioned above. With this in mind, it’s best to keep your eyes open for the odd okra, Japanese maple, or kenaf in your neighboring garden/park because it is quite the sight.

Not only do these plants resemble marijuana, they often have a distinct aroma that is telling from afar. For the curious mind, it’s never a bad idea to sit down and compare these different plants to see what they’re all about!

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