weed that looks like marijuana

Weed Wannabes – 10 Plants That Look Like Cannabis (But Aren’t)

Imagine this. You’re sitting outside one bright and sunny summer day and you notice a lot of side-eyeing and funny looks from your neighbors. You decide you’re being paranoid and just brush it off. A few days later, the cops show up at your door. What’s the matter? They ask to see your plant that you have visible from your front window, backyard or balcony… to your surprise, they think it’s a weed plant. You’re perplexed, but have no problem showing them your spider flower house plant and having a good laugh in the end. Even though you might feel annoyed with your nosy neighbors, now you know there’s a number of common herbs that look like weed, plants that look like pot, and even trees that look like marijuana. An entire scenario you could have avoided – if only you’d known beforehand. So, let’s brush up on the top 10 plants that resemble marijuana, and why scenarios like this make it important to know.

Why You Should Know What Plants Look Like Marijuana

Even though our introduction is purely fictional, unfortunately for many in non-legalized states, it could easily be a reality. In fact, in 2014, cops raided a home in Georgia for plants that looked like weed but in actuality were just okra plants. We know there’s still a widespread stigma about cannabis growth and use, and this is one primary reason why you should know what plants look like marijuana.

If you’re a cannabis consumer with plants that look like mary jane, you’re almost certainly drawing unwanted attention to yourself, especially if cannabis isn’t legal in the area where you’re consuming or growing. It’s therefore probably best to keep these types of plants away from the public eye.

Low Odor Cannabis

The List Of Plants That Look Like Cannabis

From common trees to herbs and even vegetables, there is a wide range of plants that look like weed. To be in the know and avoid unnecessary trouble, we’ve compiled a list of plants with leaves that look like weed or plants that resemble marijuana in some way.


Cassava is not only similar to cannabis in terms of its medicinal properties, but in appearance as well. The plant has leaves that look like weed and which are also the same vibrant green color. Like with cannabis, the leaves grow off the stem of cassava plants, adding to the resemblance. One last notable similarity is the leaf structure, as cassava has 7 leaflets and is shaped much like the leaves found on an Indica plant.

Medical Cannabis Strains

Hemp Agrimony

Given its name, the fact that this plant looks like pot may not exactly come as a shock. Also known as eupatorium cannabinum, hemp agrimony plants are far from actually being marijuana or hemp. They’re actually a part of the daisy family. Even though they produce eye-catching purplish-pink flowers during bloom, it’s the plant leaves that most look like weed. Hemp agrimony leaves are a rich green color, with pointed tips and spacing that’s similar to a Sativa plant.

Sativa-dominant strains

Chaste Tree

At full maturity, a chaste tree isn’t really a tree that looks like weed. It’s when the chaste tree is immature and growing that it most resembles mary jane. During this phase, each stem puts out five to six leaves just like a cannabis or hemp plant would. The tree’s leaves are also serrated like marijuana leaves and grow to a similar length and shape.

Texas Star

The leaves of the Texas star hibiscus plant tend to look more like weed than any other plants on this list. At first glance, it’s definitely hard to decipher if it’s a cannabis plant or not. That’s because Texas star leaves are bright green and textured just like marijuana leaves are, and with the same type of edges. Luckily, once mature, the plant blooms in bright reds and whites to detract from the similarities.

Japanese Maple

Japanese maple trees come in a number of varieties. A few of these varieties certainly resemble marijuana. Each different Japanese maple differs in leaf color and shape, but when growing, the plant puts out green leaves that look much like weed leaves do. They have 7 points and can easily trick the eye into thinking it’s marijuana.

Small Plants

Spider Flower

Spider flower, or cleome plants, often get mistaken for Indica-dominant cannabis plants. Like marijuana leaves, spider flower plants grow wide leaflets that begin smaller near the stem. When growing outdoors, the plants also reach about 5 feet in height – another trait similar to many cannabis strains. Fortunately, these plants that initially look like weed eventually bloom with vibrant purple and white flowers.

Outdoor Cannabis Seeds

Coral Plant

When talking about what plants look like marijuana, you can’t avoid the coral plant. The long and lengthy leaflets look very similar to Sativa cannabis varieties from afar. Even the cut of the leaves resembles that of weed leaves. Upon closer look, the texture of the coral plant leaves is what gives it away, as they have a shiny sheen to them that marijuana leaves lack. Eventually, coral plants do flower, which further detracts from the similarities.


Kenaf (not to be confused with kief) is as close to cannabis in appearance as it is by title. The kenaf plant is also known as hibiscus cannabinus, adding to the confusion. The leaves that look like weed share the distinct star pattern, texture and lines. Kenaf plants also put out leaves from the stem in bunches of six or seven, adding to the similarities.

As we mentioned earlier, okra has actually been confused for cannabis by police enforcement before. Hopefully, this mainstream story helps the general population now identify the differences. This vegetable, more so than others on the list, is a plant that resembles weed buds – like cannabis nugs, okra also emerges from buds found near the stem of the plant. Other than that, the leaf color is similar but often wider than marijuana leaves.

Tagetes Minuta

Last but not least is the tagetes minuta plant, which just so happens to share not only medicinal qualities with cannabis but also similarities in appearance. Among the plants that resemble marijuana, tagetes minuta grows most similar in size and height. It also has leaves that look like weed leaves, which are serrated, long and sharp-edged.

Prepared For Plant Confusion?

Just because you may know the difference between house plants that look like pot and actual cannabis plants doesn’t mean that everyone else will. However, now that you know the common plants that develop weed-like leaves and what plants look like marijuana the most, you can avoid having them in the spotlight at your home. With this information, you can be prepared and avoid plant confusion from nosy neighbors, judgmental company, or in the worst-case scenario, law enforcement.

Herbies Head Shop expressly refuses to support the use, production, or supply of illegal substances. For more details read our Legal Disclaimer.

From common trees to herbs and even vegetables, there is a wide range of plants that look like weed. To be in the know and avoid unnecessary trouble, we’ve compiled a list of plants with leaves that look like weed or plants that resemble marijuana in some way

Pictures of Marijuana for Parents

Photos in Different Stages of Growth and Use

  • facebook
  • twitter

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

These pictures show marijuana, also known as cannabis or weed, in varying stages of growth, processing, and use. You may be concerned about plants you find growing in and around your home. Or, you may wonder whether what you discovered in your child’s room is marijuana or indicates your child may be using marijuana.

Even if you live in a jurisdiction where marijuana is legal, there are age restrictions and your child can end up on the wrong side of the law. You should prepare to have a conversation with your child about the risks involved in using or selling marijuana when underage.

Marijuana Plant Growing in a Pot

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Cavan Images, LLC / Taxi / Getty Images

If you find plants around your home that look similar to the marijuana plant in the photo, someone in your household is trying to grow their own weed. The plants have changed considerably in recent decades as they have been bred to produce more buds.

Leaves on a Marijuana Plant

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Gary Morrison / Getty Images

If you see plants like this growing around your home, chances are they did not just pop-up in the wild—they were purposely cultivated. Cannabis plants have a palmate leaf with serrated leaflets. You are likely to recognize them from popular art. While there are plants with similar leaves, the serration pattern for Cannabis is distinctive.

Chopped Up Marijuana Plant

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Steve Cicero / Getty Images

Marijuana is dried and chopped up to prepare it for use and sale. The stems are usually removed.

Marijuana Joints

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Levi Bianco / Getty Images

If your child is using marijuana, you may be likely to find rolled joints of marijuana cigarettes. You may also find rolling papers. Your child may claim that these are hand-rolled tobacco cigarettes, which would also be a concern.

Small Amount of Marijuana Ready for Sale

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Michael Betts / Getty Images

You may find a small amount of marijuana your child has acquired for personal use to smoke. It is probably readily available in your community.

Plastic Bag Full of Marijuana

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Nate Brown / EyeEm / Getty Images

You may also find larger quantities of marijuana in a plastic zip-lock bag. You might find smaller plastic bags with residue inside. This can trigger concerns that your child is transporting or selling marijuana rather than obtaining it for personal use.

Marijuana Bud

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Oksana Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

Marijuana buds are higher in THC than other parts of the plant and are sold at a premium. As marijuana has been increasingly bred to produce more buds, you may find this type of marijuana in your home. It is probably much more potent than the average street-grade weed.

Close Up of Marijuana Bud

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Michael Thomas / EyeEm / Getty Images

If you look closely at a marijuana bud, you will see the fine “hairs” and leaves that make up the bud after it is dried.

Processed Marijuana Buds

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Sinisa Kukic / Getty Images

If you find a larger quantity of processed marijuana buds in your home, someone either has an expensive habit or they are selling weed to their friends.

Indoor Marijuana Grow Operation

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Jeff Rotman / / Getty Images

If you see this many marijuana plants growing indoors, you have stumbled upon a major indoor marijuana grow operation. Leave the scene immediately and call 9-1-1 if it is not a legal operation.

You Found Some Marijuana, Now What?

” data-caption=”” data-expand=”300″ data-tracking-container=”true” />

Richard T. Nowitz / Getty Images

First of all, don’t over-react. Before you force your child into a professional drug treatment program that you may not be able to afford and they may not even need, take a step back and try to evaluate the situation.

It may be that your child has experimented with marijuana use or tried it a couple of times with their friends. That happens a lot more these days than it may have happened when you were in school.

Forty-four percent of all students have tried weed by 12th grade according to the National Institutes of Health.   That means that your child probably has friends who are smoking marijuana or at least know someone who is.

Your child’s involvement in marijuana may have just been a passing curiosity, or it may be more than that. Before you react, you need to assess just what your child’s level of involvement is with marijuana.

How do you do that? The best advice available is the simplest—ask your child.

Whether or not adolescents become involved in drugs—or stay involved—may be related to their parents’ attitudes about drug use. Having a matter-of-fact, rational discussion with your child about marijuana may be the best way to approach the situation.

Of course, your child’s use of marijuana may be more involved than simple experimentation, depending on how much of the drug you found. If so, they may not be as willing to talk to you about it. In this case, you will need to educate your child on the legal risks of transporting or selling marijuana.

Parents may want to know what marijuana looks like in all stages of development and use. See photos that can help you check what you find at home.