plants that resemble weed

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.

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

Four Plants That Look Like Weed – Don’t Get Scammed!

If you’ve never smoked weed before and are thinking of giving it a try, you might be worried about someone trying to sell you something that isn’t cannabis. You might even think that someone might try to pass off a plant that looks like marijuana plants as something to smoke.

It’s certainly true that scammers do take advantage of noob smokers by selling them sub-par weed, small amounts, or something that isn’t actually cannabis at all. However, it’s very rare that they’ll use a plant that looks like marijuana. For reasons that we’ll get onto later, it just doesn’t make much sense!

That said, there certainly are times when knowledge of plants that look like cannabis comes in useful. In the last section of this article, we talk about times that you might want to steer clear of planting anything similar looking to weed near your house and also the importance of being vigilant when buying clones or cuttings.

Plants that Look Similar to a Marijuana Plant

Japanese Maple

The leaves of many species of Japanese maple really look a lot like the leaves of WeedRepublic’s favorite psychoactive plant. They have a serrated edge to them, similar to those on marijuana plants. The formation of the leaves is pretty similar too.

Although seeing a single Japanese maple leaf on the ground might make some people suspect there is a cannabis plant growing somewhere nearby, there are plenty of major differences to tell the two plants apart.

One of the biggest differences is the fact that the leaves of many Japanese maples aren’t even green at all. Some species of the plant do indeed have green leaves but these will commonly have red or purplish stems, which is incredibly rare in healthy marijuana plants.

Most Japanese maple leaves also don’t look that much like cannabis leaves. Sure, they both have five “fingers” to them and the leaves have a serrated edge. However, the splits between the fingers always reach the stem itself on a marijuana plant. This is often not the case on a Japanese maple!

You’re also highly unlikely to get scammed by someone selling you Japanese maple in place of cannabis. We really doubt you’ll be loading up a pipe-like the Squirrel Nest pipe from Empire Glassworks with the plant! Only one of the plants actually produces the aromatic, THC-laden buds we all stick in grinders like the amazing Mendocino Mulcher! No prizes for guessing which one either.

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Texas Star Hibiscus

Another plant that you might mistake for cannabis is known as Texas Star Hibiscus. Again, it’s the highly distinctive leaf formation that is most likely to give rise to confusion. The plant has multi-fingered, serrated leaves growing from thin green stems. Again, seeing a single leaf might trick an inexperienced smoker but we highly doubt someone will try to sell you Texas Star Hibiscus as cannabis.

The plant doesn’t smell anything like cannabis and doesn’t produce flowering sites that are similar to those on cannabis plants. Outside of absolute opportunists selling to very naive, first-time smokers (probably underage ones!), we highly doubt anyone will try to pass off Texas Star Hibiscus as Grade A smoke. We find it even more unlikely that anyone would fall for it too!


Some species of the kenaf plant really look like a weed! In fact, the plant’s scientific name even has “canna” in it. In the field of botany, the plant is also known as hibiscus cannabinus.

Kenaf grows naturally in tropical and subtropical climates. It’s found in Asia and Africa mostly. Just like WeedRepublic’s favorite herb, the plant has been used as both a source of food and fiber for centuries too!

The kenaf plant has a star-shaped leaf with seven fingers. The edges are serrated and the veining through them is very much like that seen on cannabis plants too. We reckon of all the plants we’ve covered so far, this one is the most likely to result in neighbor suspicion if you’re growing it on your property!

That said, anyone trying to dupe you into buying some kenaf is going to struggle. It produces rather attractive flowers that don’t stink of high grade. You probably won’t be heating it up in your FOUR vape from Mig Vapor anytime soon!

Again, the main reason for this is the fact that kenaf doesn’t smell anything like cannabis and it doesn’t produce bud sites that look close enough to trick someone who can see the product. For almost every use of cannabis for either recreational or medical purposes, the buds are favored over the leaves.

Unless you’re buying a bin bag full of cannabis leaves to cook with or make smoothies (cannabis is super nutritious!), we doubt you’ll need to worry about kenaf being passed off as weed!

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Coral Plant

The coral plant is another plant that kind of looks like a weed. Its leaves are also formed in long, serrated fingers. However, there are usually a lot more fingers than you’d find on cannabis plants.

There is another major difference between the leaves of the two plants too. The serration along the margins of the coral plant’s leaves aren’t that similar to those found on a weed leaf. Anyone who’d see a real cannabis plant would immediately recognize the coral plant as being an imposter.

Whilst it might trick an absolute noob during its vegetative growth, any doubt is cast to the side when the coral plant flowers. It produces glorious Fuschia flowers, rather than green, THC-coated buds!

Keep Your Wits About You and You Won’t Get Scammed!

True be told, it’s highly unlikely that anyone will try to sell you one of the above plants like cannabis. Although the leaves and other characteristics can look similar, you just don’t load up your Linx Gaia with dried leaves.

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That said, the scam that you might have been worried about is a legit one. Just about every WeedRepublic team member has at least one story from their youth about being scammed when buying weed on the black market. Our particular favorite is a friend of a friend who bought the corner of house brick wrapped in tinfoil as hashish in his youth!

You see the “fake sell” scam doesn’t really need something that looks like a weed to work. Since cannabis buds are so distinctive looking (and smelling), the scam instead relies on the dealer convincing the buyer to pay for the goods without checking them first.

For this reason, you won’t find your regular dealer ever trying to pull a stunt like this. They’d lose themselves one of their customers. It’s much more common when some stranger approaches you somewhere busy and asks if you want to buy something to smoke. If there are a lot of people around, you’re more likely to go along with their requests not to look at what they’ve sold you until after they’ve had the chance to make their getaway.

The scammer will use something that kind of feels like cannabis when bagged up. This could be something solid, in the case of hash, or any old leaves compressed and tightly wrapped if you’re buying bud. They’ll often put it in your pocket for you or your sock and take the money after telling you not to get it out until you’ve got some privacy. They’ll soon disappear, leaving you to unwrap some soggy leaves, or in our friend’s case, a big old house brick!

Beware of Growing Cannabis Lookalikes!

So, we’ve established that you’re unlikely to get scammed by a dealer selling you plants that look like weed but aren’t. However, that doesn’t mean that these lookalikes are harmless! There are a few occasions where you really want to beware of them!

If you’re growing actual cannabis illegally in a grow tent like the best-selling Vivosun, for example, it would be pretty stupid to load up your front garden with all the plants we’ve covered in this article. Nosy neighbors might have smelled you smoking a joint in your garden, see the star-shaped leaves out front, and jumped to a conclusion.

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Now, them calling the cops would be pretty funny if you don’t have marijuana plants on your property. It’s probably less hilarious if you’re hiding a grow op!

We should also mention the live cannabis plant trade too. Many growers will sell whole mother plants or cuts for other growers to start from. In the case of cuttings, we can imagine an inexperienced grower seeing the serrated, star-shaped leaves of the Kenaf plant coming out of a Rockwool cube and believing they were buying cannabis cuttings. However, anyone with proper experience growing will spot differences. Chief of these would be the smell. Even vegging marijuana plants give off a slight smell. If you rub the leaves and smell your fingers, and you don’t smell something fresh, citrusy, and with a hint of weed, you might be looking at a marijuana lookalike!

If you’ve never smoked weed before and are thinking of giving it a try, you might be worried about someone trying to sell you something that isn’t cannabis. You might even think that someone might try to pass off a plant that looks like marijuana plants as something to smoke. It’s certainly true that scammers do take