Type of weed plants


Weeds grow everywhere. However, there are some that are well known in this part of the world because of their ability to grow in tropical regions.

In this post, we’ve highlighted some of these common Nigerian weeds, their botanical names as well as their uses.

But before we do that, let’s take a look at some of the things weeds can be used for.

  • Weeds can be used to bring nutrients and water from deep within the soil to become available to microbes and plants
  • Weeds can also be used to break up hardpans and compaction, and control erosion
  • Weeds also increase the organic matter content of the soil as they grow and die
  • Weeds can serve as a way telling farmers about the nutritional balance of the soil through their presence or growth habit.
  • Weed also provide food for grazing animals

Common Nigerian Weeds & their Botanical Names

Now let’s take a look at the common Nigerian weeds.

#1 Bahama grass (Cynodan dactylon)

Although this trailing grass is native to Europe, it also grows in parts of Africa like Nigeria. It has diverse applications. For instance, the grass has been linked to the treatment of diabetes and can also be used for constipation.

In case you‘re wondering how to use it for these ailments, below are te simple steps you need to take:

  • Wash it and cut into small pieces
  • Grind it in a mixer or pound with enough water
  • Extract the juice and drink it first thing in the morning on an empty stomach, and then you can have your breakfast after two hours

Also, the grass contains fiber, crude proteins, calcium, potash, and phosphorus which is quite useful for grazing animals.

#2 Wild sunflower (Aspilia africana)

The Wild Sun Flower is a kind of flowering plants in the Asteraceae family. The botanical name of the plant is Aspilia africana. It orginates from Latin America and can also be found in West Africa.

The plant has been use for numerous benefits over the years

  • It can be used as an abortifacient
  • It can also stop bleeding from fresh wounds by inhibiting microbial elements that are known to cause injury and accelerate wound healing
  • It has also been used in the treatment of rheumatic pains, bee and scorpion stings

#3 Elephant grass (Pennisetum purpureum)

The botanical name of Elephant grass is Pennisetum purpureum. It is also known as Napier grass or Uganda grass.

The species has low nutrient and water requirements as a result as been adapted to tropical environment.

This species has been used for grazing in the past and it is currently used as a pest control strategy. This is done by planting the grass alongside the cultivated crop. The grass is effective in keeping stemborer moths away from maize.

Elephant grass also improves soil fertility and protects dry land from soil erosion. It can also be used for windbreaks and firebreaks.

It is also useful in paper manufacturing, biogas, bio-oil, and charcoal production.

#4 Carpet grass (Axonopus compressus)

This grass is a creeping, coarse-leaved grass. Typically, it grows better on wet soils unlike other grasses. Also, the grass is not very shade tolerant.

The botanical name for Carpet grass is Axonopus compressus. It is the best plant for erosion control and it can flourish in low fertility soils.

It is a perennial pasture grass. Interestingly, the thick sod of this grass can help crowd out other weeds. It can be used to beautify low maintenance areas like airports, roadside or parks.

#5 African Club Moss

The botanical name of African Club Moss is Selaginella kraussiana. It is also known as Selaginella.

The plant is native to Southern and tropical Africa. It is a small carpet forming plant with long fine roots and irregularly branched stem.

This weed can grow in a wide range of conditions; it can also tolerate hot, cold or deep shade conditions. The grass doesn’t need moist ground to thrive and it has the ability to shade out small seedlings. Also, it is commonly found on wet ground and it has an attractive appearance.

#6 African Feather Grass

The botanical name of African feather grass is Cenchrus macrourus. It is also known as bedding grass or veld grass.

It is a perennial grass with deep fibrous roots and rhizomes. Also, it has tough, strongly ribbed leaves that are light green on top and darker green underneath.

The grass has round erect stems with many fine hairs that break off when touched and cause skin irritations. The weed is tolerant of many soil types and thrives well in hot or cold, drought, wind, salt, damage as well as grazing conditions.

#7 African Olive

The botanical name of African Olive is Olea europeaea of the family Oleaceae or the Olive family. This olive weed was originally from Europe but has adapted to the tropics like Africa

It is a dense bushy shrub or small tree with scaly young stems and bark that roughen as it matures.

The grass forms a dense canopy and produces many long-lived, well dispersed seeds. It can tolerate conditions like heat, cold, drought, wind, salt, damage, and moderate shade.

The grass grows predominantly in shrubland as well as bare land especially in coastal areas, and inshore islands.

#8 Buffalo grass

The botanical name is Stenotaphrum secundatum. It is from the Gramineae or grass family.

This weed originates from Tropical America and Africa. It is a dense, mat-forming, coarse perennial grass with long, stout, usually reddish stolons. Some grass species that are similar to buffalo grass include Axonopus affinis, Paspalum distichum, and Pennisetum clandestinum are all similar.

The grass tolerates both damp and drought conditions. It can also grow in hot, salty or windy condition. Grazing doesn’t significantly affect it however it is intolerant to shade. It is also often seen to crowd most plants and other weeds.

Buffalo grass can be found in disturbed shrubland, herbfield, bare land and coastal fringes, especially in warmer areas.

This grass produces uniform attractive turf and can be used in pasture or on ranches.



Weed, general term for any plant growing where it is not wanted. Ever since humans first attempted the cultivation of plants, they have had to fight the invasion by weeds into areas chosen for crops. Some unwanted plants later were found to have virtues not originally suspected and so were removed from the category of weeds and taken under cultivation. Other cultivated plants, when transplanted to new climates, escaped cultivation and became weeds or invasive species. The category of weeds thus is ever changing, and the term is a relative one.

weedingWeeds being removed by hand from a parsley patch.© delihayat/Fotolia

Weeds interfere with a variety of human activities, and many methods have been developed to suppress or eliminate them. These methods vary with the nature of the weed itself, the means at hand for disposal, and the relation of the method to the environment. Usually for financial and ecological reasons, methods used on a golf course or a public park cannot be applied on rangeland or in the forest. Herbicide chemicals sprayed on a roadside to eliminate unsightly weeds that constitute a fire or traffic hazard are not proper for use on cropland. Mulching, which is used to suppress weeds in a home garden, is not feasible on large farms. Weed control, in any event, has become a highly specialized activity. Universities and agricultural colleges teach courses in weed control, and industry provides the necessary technology. In agriculture, weed control is essential for maintaining high levels of crop production.

The many reasons for controlling weeds become more complex with the increasing development of technology. Plants become weeds as a function of time and place. Tall weeds on roadsides presumably were not problematic prior to the invention of the automobile. However, with cars and increasing numbers of drivers on roads, tall weeds became dangerous, potentially obscuring drivers’ visibility, particularly at intersections. Sharp-edged grasses are nominal nuisances in a cow pasture; when the area is converted to a golf course or a public park, they become an actual nuisance. Poison oak (Toxicodendron diversilobum) is rather a pleasant shrub on a sunny hillside in the open country; in a camp ground it is a definite health hazard. Such examples could be given ad infinitum to cover every aspect of agriculture, forestry, highway, waterway and public land management, arboretum, park and golf-course care, and home landscape maintenance.

Weeds compete with crop plants for water, light, and nutrients. Weeds of rangelands and pastures may be unpalatable to animals, or even poisonous; they may cause injuries, as with lodging of foxtails (Alopecurus species) in horses’ mouths; they may lower values of animal products, as in the cases of cockleburs (Xanthium species) in wool; they may add to the burden of animal care, as when horses graze in sticky tarweeds (Madia species). Many weeds are hosts of plant disease organisms. Examples are prickly lettuce (Lactuca scariola) and sow thistle (Sonchus species) that serve as hosts for downy mildew; wild mustards (Brassica species) that host clubroot of cabbage; and saltbrush (Atriplex species) and Russian thistle, in which curly top virus overwinters, to be carried to sugar beets by leafhoppers. Many weeds are hosts of insect pests, and a number are invasive species.

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Modern weed control can be classified as mechanical, chemical, or biological.

Dear Leah,

If you’re like me, you’ve picked up a little dandelion fluff ball and blown the seeds around. Weeds like these make a lot of seeds. They get picked up by the wind and planted far and wide. And as you observe, they grow pretty fast, too.

My friend Tim Miller is a researcher at Washington State University working to help stop weeds from making life difficult for plants we would rather have. Sometimes, weeds are bullies to other plants.

“Weeds are simply plants that are able to compete well with the plants we want to grow,” Miller said. “Imagine two plants growing side by side. Let’s say one is a squash and one is a weed.”

He explained that these plants compete for resources both of them need to grow: sunlight, water, nutrients, and space.

“The weed is able to grab those resources before the vegetable plant can get them, so they tend to grow a little faster and a little better than the vegetable does,” Miller explained.

A race to the top

The weed seeds are already in the garden soil. They wait for just the right temperature and moisture conditions. So, when you plant your seeds, the weeds race out of the ground before whatever you planted can even get started.

Sometimes gardeners help their vegetables by growing them in pots and then transplanting them into the garden. That gives the veggie a head start against the weed.

Miller said some weeds grow from a root that has been alive for many years. These kinds of plants are called perennials. The grasses in your lawn are also perennials. Perennial weeds grow especially fast and are much harder to kill than annuals, which have to grow from seed every year.

Perennial roots have lots of energy in them from previous years of growth. Miller explained that energy helps the shoots grow very quickly. This makes perennial weeds particularly hard to control.

Seeds in the breeze

Dandelions are one kind of perennial. Each dandelion fuzz ball has as many as 100 seeds that travel in the wind. If a dandelion plant makes 10 flower heads, that’s 1,000 seeds waiting to sprout wherever they land. How many dandelions do you think you have in your lawn? If there are 50 plants, just think of those 50,000 new dandelions that can sprout from all those seeds. It’s no wonder weeds are so hard to control.

While they may be bullies to plants, weeds have also inspired some interesting ideas. The engineer who invented Velcro was inspired by those prickly weed burrs that stuck to his clothes and his dog’s fur. You never know what might inspire a great idea or when that idea will strike.

Dr. Universe


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Weed Management

  1. Ralph Waldo Emerson described a weed as a plant whose virtue has not yet been discovered. And when you’re hoeing or pulling weeds, it definitely can be a challenge to find anything virtuous about them. Those that are the peskiest and most hated thrive in places you don’t want them to be, whether…
  2. TheNational Invasive Species Information Center (NISIC)was established in 2005 atUSDA’sNational Agricultural Library (NAL)to meet the information needs of users including theNational Invasive Species Council.Executive Order 13112established the Council in 1999. NISICmanages the…
  3. The Weed Science Society of America, a non-profit professional society, promotes research, education, and extension outreach activities related to weeds; provides science-based information to the public and policy makers; and fosters awareness of weeds and their impacts on managed and natural…
  4. The NPDN was established in 2002 in response to the need to enhance agricultural security through protecting health and productivity of plants in agricultural and natural ecosystems in the U.S. With support from the USDA-NIFA and through the collective efforts of many individuals representing…
  5. 2007-05-25 Weeds are the pioneer plants of disturbed soils and can adversely affect the use, economic value, and aesthetic aspect of the lands and waters they infest. Knowledge of the major mechanisms of weed survival is essential for developing effective methods of weed control to maximize the use and…
  6. 2018-11-13 Mistletoes (parasitic shrubs from diverse families), dodders (species of Cuscuta); and witchweeds and their relatives, Striga, Alectra, and Rhamphicarpa species are major constraints on African crops especially in grain and legume production. They are highly specialized weeds so understanding…
  7. Ragweed parthenium (a.k.a. parthenium weed, Santa Maria feverfew, congress grass, carrot weed, white top, etc.), a member of the Asteraceae (Compositae) family, is native to Mexico and Central and South America and is becoming an increasingly troublesome weed around the world (Figure 1)….
  8. 2018-08-08 Session: African Witchweeds and Their Relatives—Biology, Sanitation, and Control Biographical Information: Lytton John Musselman is Mary Payne Hogan Distinguished Professor of Botany at Old Dominion University and has researched Striga as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Khartoum; as a…
  9. The quickest and safest way to learn foraging is with a local expert. You not only learn what there is to know but do not spend time learning things you don’t need to know. Further, you also get the local angle on plants, important information that is usually not found in foraging books published…
  10. Abstract,Journal of Agricultural Science, 2019 The productivity of citrus plants has not reached its maximum potential due to the action of several factors that directly affect agricultural profitability. Among these factors, weed interference has a great importance since it causes a reduction in…
  11. Abstract,Outlook on Agriculture. 2017 In order to determine the critical period of weed control in sesame, field studies were conducted during the 2014 and 2015 growing seasons in Estahban, Iran. The experiments were conducted based on factorial arrangement which involved a randomized complete…
  12. 2016-09-08 Material is presented in English and Kiswahili Parthenium hysterophorus is a noxious weed invading East Africa. It reduces crop growth and can harm the health of both humans and animals. ECHO is raising awareness of it through an educational video, presentations, and community involvement.
  13. 2017-02-15 Except: Parthenium hysterophorus, also known as carrot top, white top weed, and fever few is a fairly new invasive weed but has quickly become one of the worst weeds to tropical areas(CABI 2015). In Ethiopia it is known as Farmasissa which means “sign your land away” (IAPPS 2016). Originally from…
  14. 1985-04-01 On the small farm, or in the home garden, techniques suitable for the production of food might be quite different from those used in large-scale production systems. The use of machinery, for example, might be impossible or uneconomical, or special small-scale equipment might be needed. The wide…
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    This article is from ECHO Asia Note #26 ECHO Asia Impact Center staff members first heard about alternative herbicide recipes that use fermented papaya and pineapple from a retired technical school teacher and organic farmer, Kru Pratoom. As weeding is a big part of any farmer’s life, the Seed… Asia

  15. 2017-02-09 Parthenium hysterophorus, also known as carrot top, white top weed, and fever few is a fairly new invasive weed but has quickly become one of the worst weeds to tropical areas(CABI 2015). In Ethiopia it is known as Farmasissa which means “sign your land away” (IAPPS 2016). Originally from Central…
  16. 2015-03-26 Understanding the structure of plants and how they interact with their environment proves to be very important and helpful in overcoming agricultural challenges from drought to pests and from climate change to introducing new plant varieties. In this workshop, participants will gain valuable…
  17. How to get started in this thick mat of weedy trees? What to do about all the huge clumping grasses in the pineapple patch? How to manage this morning glory vine strangling the orchard? I have had a lot of questions come up in the course of working in permaculture in Hawai’i, for myself on my own…
  18. Key Resource 1976-01-01 Perspectives for developing countries for controlling aquatic weeds and using them to best advantage, especially those methods that show promise for less-developed countries. ASIN:B001988YC8
  19. 2002-10-01 During one rainy season 24 families in a Mexican village and 10 vendors at a regional market were regularly interviewed about type and quantity of weed use. Also the weed vegetation was surveyed and 49 farmers were interviewed concerning their farming practices and costs. All of the 74 weed…
  20. 2017-01-20 Both in Ethiopia and in the countries of East Africa, the continuing proliferation and spread of invasive alien species (IAS) is now recognized as a serious problem, which needs to be addressed. While this situation has improved dramatically over the past 10 years, further progress has been…
  21. Key Resource 1998-10-01 Third Edition People interested in tropical gardening or botany will find this an indispensable guide to several hundred species of plants with edible leaves. Leaves can provide high-quality food, and in the tropics, many are from perennials requiring little effort for their abundant production….
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    2016-07-11 Recently, ECHO East Africa Regional Impact Center Director Erwin Kinsey and Technical Research Coordinator Bob Hargrave received a request from an ECHO network member to identify and propose control methods for a “new weed that is spreading and smothering trees and hedges.”

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    2007-10-20 Overstory Issue 188 (about accelerated natural regeneration, or ANR) included information about weeding in forests. Here we share an excerpt on reducing competition with weeds.

  22. 1997-07-19 Scientists at the International Centre for Research in Agroforestry (ICRAF) in Kenya have recently determined that the weedy shrubTithonia diversifoliahas potential as a green manure crop.
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    2002-10-01 A habitat management system to control stemborers and striga has been developed by the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (ICIPE), along with Kenya’s Ministry of Agriculture, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI), and IACR-Rothamsted of the UK. The system is called a…

  23. 1996-01-19 The parasiticweed Striga hermonthica is a major problem in African millet fields. International Agricultural Development (Jan/Feb 1994) reports that dense intercropping of cowpea in millet stands can reduce Striga emergence.
  24. 1993-01-01 When I visited Jamaica a couple years ago I learned that farmers in south St. Elizabeth Parish were growing a good crop of scallions. What was unique is that they relied on rainfall in an area that is normally too dry for intensive vegetable production without irrigation. In fact, they were…
  25. 2017-02-09 Parthenium hysterophorus, also known as carrot top, white top weed, and fever few is a fairly new invasive weed but has quickly become one of the worst weeds to tropical areas(CABI 2015). In Ethiopia it is known as Farmasissa which means “sign your land away” (IAPPS 2016). Originally from Central…
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    AccessAgriculture Training Video Farmers in Madagascar show how following four key principles can give you a good rice harvest despite the presence of striga. English French Kiswahili Malagasy Portuguese

  26. Weeds are important biotic constraint to food production. Weeds compete with crops for the same resources, basically water, nutrients, light and carbon dioxide. Furthermore, they are alternate hosts for crop pests and pathogens. Moreover, some of them lack autotrophy and fully develop only by…
  27. Abstract ,Crop Protection, 2015 Weeds are a hidden foe for crop plants, interfering with their functions and suppressing their growth and development. Yield losses of 34% are caused by weeds among the major crops, which are grown worldwide. These yield losses are higher than the losses caused by…
  28. An integrated approach to plant protection The mission of the International Association for the Plant Protection Sciences (IAPPS) is to promote and support an integrated, scientific approach to plant protection. Embracing a wide range of research approaches, technologies and practices, IAPPS aims…
  29. The Official Journal of theInternational Association for the Plant Protection Sciences The Editors ofCrop Protectionespecially welcome papers describing an interdisciplinary approach showing how differentcontrol strategiescan be integrated into practicalpest managementprograms, covering high and…
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    AccessAgriculture Training Video The parasitic weed striga causes more damage to cereal crops in poor soils, so both problems have to be tackled together. In this video we will learn why it is important to combine at least three control methods to reduce striga and obtain a good yield of sorghum,…

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    AccessAgriculture Training Video Effective weed control can increase yields by more than 50%. As a farmer it is therefore worthwhile taking a closer look. In this video you can learn how to control weeds most effectively. Ateso Chichewa English French Kiswahili Luganda Lugbara Luo Runyakitara

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    AccessAgriculture Training Video Effective weed management can increase yields by more than 50%, but usually takes a lot of time. As a farmer it is therefore worthwhile investing in labour-saving weed management tools. In this video you can learn how to control weeds in lowland rice using the…

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    AccessAgriculture Training Video One of the major parasites is striga, a weed that sucks the juice and nutrients from cereal crops such as millet, sorghum and maize and causes great yield losses. A single striga plant can produce hundreds of thousands of seeds. The seeds are so tiny that most…

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    AccessAgriculture Training Video It is important to pull striga weeds with your hands before the time it produces seeds and spreads. As it is laborious, better reduce the number of striga plants by applying compost or manure, and by rotating or intercropping with non-cereal crops, such as cowpea….

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    AccessAgriculture Training Video Compost is more powerful than manure. What is less known is that the micro-organisms in compost attack striga seeds in the soil. Compost also decreases the amount of striga that will sprout, and reduces its negative effect on cereal crops. Let us look at how…

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    AccessAgriculture Training Video Farmers in northern Nigeria are changing the way they intercrop their sorghum and millet with cowpea. By planting both crops at higher densities and in separate rows, and by applying some organic and mineral fertilizer, they harvest more and reduce damage by the…

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    2019-03-21 This Technical Note provides an overview of parasitic plants of agricultural significance in Africa. Parasitic weeds cause drought stress and stunted crops. Affected plants include cereal grains (e.g., sorghum and maize ) and grain legumes (e.g., cowpea and maize ) and grain legumes (e.g., cowpea [Vigna…

  30. The parasitic weedC. campestrisis native to North America but has been introduced around the world and become a weed in many countries. It is by far the most important of the dodders, perhaps because of its wide host range. This ensures that there is a wide range of crop seeds that may be…
  31. Because managing weeds usually involves a combination of chemical and cultural methods, it should be based on a knowledge of the specific weeds to be controlled, the habitats in which thye are likely to occur and the means by which they enter and persist in a turfgrass community. This…
  32. The descriptions of the 90 weeds included in this publication are arranged in the order of the appearance of the weeds in the taxonomic key. Common and scientific names of the weeds are those indicated in the Composite List of Weeds published by the Weed Science Society of America.
  33. The weeds shown in this book are arranged alphabetically by family and scientific name within famiy. For each species, the Weed Science Society of America approved family, common and scientific name is shown along with a picture. Alternative common and scientific names are listed also.
  34. This review reports what has been done by whom. It imcludes articles directly related to weed-crop competition published prior to June 1978.
  35. This manual has several purposes. First, the extent and nature of weed problems are studied. Then, the importance of knowing the growth habits of the weeds is discussed. Next the various methods of control are examined. The recommended safety practices are also included in the study. Finally, the…
  36. 1985-01-01 The purpose of this book is to meet the need for a reference that relates the principles of weed science directly to weed control situations encountered in the field. Although the concept is simple, the objective is difficult to attain. To be successful in weed control, one must conceptualize…

How Many Different Types of Cannabis Are There? [Answered]

Cannabis, just like every other plant in the world, has differing species, subspecies, and types. This is no different than choosing between a red buff tomato and a cherry tomato at the grocery store. Cannabis types, like tomatoes, even can appear different: their buds can be different colors, their stalks various heights and their overall shape can be different widths.

Depending upon who you ask, you might get a lot of mixed answers to the question “how many different kinds of marijuana actually are there?”

This is because the answer deeply depends upon how exactly the person you are asking defines ‘types of marijuana’. At the root, there are sub-classifications for all the different weed types that fall under the Cannabis name, Cannabis being the plant genus and the other, added-on names denoting the species.

Once the plant has been broken down into this category, it is further divided into strain types, which is where things get extra tricky. This article will serve as a way to try to make sense of all the madness, bringing clarity and answering this difficult-to-understand question.

Keep reading to discover how many different kinds of marijuana there are in the world with our informative guide…

Understanding Strains: All About the Marijuana Genus

Marijuana, the type that we consume and enjoy and that gets us high and gives us these various psychoactive feelings and medical benefits, is known scientifically as the Cannabis plant and is further divided into the three species: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis.

Although there is not exactly concrete, definitive evidence of a difference between the sativa and indica species, the cannabis community generally recognizes this division to be true, especially because all three of the marijuana species look and act differently from one another. In the upcoming sections, we will take a look at the distinct differences between these three cannabis species, since each of them stands out immensely from the others.

The First Species: Cannabis Sativa

Cannabis sativa, probably the most commonly recognized of the three species, is by far the largest of the crops. These plants tend to grow very tall, sometimes reaching up to 15 feet in height, with lots of upward pointing branches that are quite sparsely packed together.

The water leaves themselves tend to be narrower and long, appearing somewhat delicate, sort of mimicking the shape of the entire plant’s figure. Sativa is a quintessential outdoor growing crop, preferred by many cannabis cultivators because of its height and lack of density, making it easy for the sun to reach all the buds and produce a properly delicious final result.

Although the sativa species takes a while to flower and be ready for harvest, it is well worth the wait because this crop awards those who are patient and caring with a hefty yield, one that is typically much more sizeable than both the indica and ruderalis species.

Cannabis sativa is said to have origins from India, and it typically thrives in warmer climates that mimic the environments of India, Columbia, Mexico and some countries in Africa; basically, places that are located under the 30 degrees north latitude line. Of course, it depends upon the type of sativa you are consuming, but the Cannabis sativa plant normally produces a more energizing high that can sometimes be productivity-inducing, creativity-inducing, and focus-bringing.

Furthermore, it is typically said to assist with medical conditions such as ADD/ADHD, depression, chronic stress, chronic fatigue, various mood disorders and sometimes pain. Again, these statements are quite general, but many sativa marijuana types have represented these capabilities.

The Second Species: Cannabis Indica

The Cannabis indica species is quite a bit different than its sister Cannabis sativa, both in appearance and effect, taking on a much sturdier look. Only ever growing up to 6 feet tall and typically ranging somewhere more around 3 feet in height, the indica plant may lack those extra inches, but it certainly makes up for it with its dense, bushy appearance that is packed full of delicious colas and nugs.

Its water leaves tend to be much more plump and healthy looking with a wider appearance, mimicking the overall figure of this plant as a whole. All of these physical characteristics are a polar opposite to the Cannabis sativa variation, and the differences do not just stop there.

The indica species is not typically desired for its outdoor growing ability, rather it is the preferred option for indoor setups because its compact size makes it convenient for cultivating in even the smallest of spaces.

The sativa version, on the other hand, requires a much grander amount of space for a successful production. The indica plant typically goes into the flowering period and later into harvest at a much quicker rate, which also adds to its inclination towards the indoor environment, because these shorter growing cycles lead to quicker crop rotation.

Do not expect sizeable yields from an indica plant – they certainly will not match up to the sativa crop in quantity – but the quality is bound to be superb with a well taken care of plant and the yield size will still be fair. Said to have origins from Central Asia in countries like Afghanistan, the indica crop thrives mostly above the 30 degrees north latitude line in countries like Nepal, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkestan and more.

Indica flowers are the best option for making hashish out of also because they typically contain a high density of resin, which is the component necessary for some potent hash. The indica’s effects are also opposite to the sativa, although there is definitely some crossover depending upon the subspecies or further defined type (which will be explained in detail later).

Promoting relaxing and tranquil effects, indicas tend to unwind and calm down the mind and body, typically producing more of a “body high” and acting less upon the cerebral aspects. Many of the indica strain types are incredible at working to combat difficulties with falling asleep, as well as fatigue, lack of appetite, chronic pain, various aches, mood disorders, anxiety, chronic stress, depression, and other similar medical conditions or ailments. It is important to consume an indica at the right time of day, however, due to this strain’s potentially heavy sedative effect, which can make it challenging to function throughout your entire day if you smoke it at too early of an hour.

The Third Species: Cannabis Ruderalis

Cannabis ruderalis is the third cannabis species type, but it is definitely the least frequent to be spoken about. It grows extremely short, at just about 20-25 inches, and not typically any taller. Just like the indica species, the ruderalis also has a denser foliage structure, so in some ways, it is like an extreme version of the indica by appearance.

Mainly, the reason why it is spoken about so rarely is that it is typically used to be bred with other cannabis species to produce certain specific effects.

Cannabis ruderalis is usually not psychotropic, producing few psychoactive effects if any at all. It does, however, produce an autoflower effect, which is why it is used as an additional source of genetic material to give certain breeds this potentially useful characteristic.

Ruderalis has an extremely short flowering period, for it is typically found in the Northernmost climates where it is capable of withstanding many harsh conditions with a moderate frost tolerance. Said to be from parts of Russia, ruderalis typically does not have much time to mature before the cold conditions hit, which plays a factor as to why its flowering period is so quick to occur.

Strains of Marijuana: Further Cannabis Classifications

In addition to the three primary cannabis species indica, sativa, and ruderalis, these three types are bred and blended together, producing various strain types which are what is often talked about when you go to a dispensary and have a selection to choose from.

In reality, it is actually impossible to say how many cannabis strain types exist in the world – the number could be reaching easily into the millions!

This is partially because of an endless number of possible combinations, many of which are still in experimental stages or even bred by small-scale cultivators. These experimental strain types may never see the light of day and could only be kept for small batch growths, but nevertheless, they are their own unique strain types.

Furthermore, it is difficult to test the genetic origins of a specific strain, which is often why some popular selections appear with an unknown genetic origin. Some strain types do stand out above the rest, for they are the most popular. They are normally classified into families. Here are some of these classifications:

  • The Hazes: Typically refers to the strains ending with the word “Haze” or featuring prominent Haze genetics. Some of these strains include Haze, Purple Haze, Chocolate Haze, Amnesia Haze, Delahaze, Super Lemon Haze, Dutch Haze, and many others. The Haze strain type variations tend to be more sativa-dominant, typically with little indica influence. Some of them are, however, officially classified as hybrid strains.
  • The Kushes: OG Kush being by far the most famous of all the various Kush varieties, these strains tend to be relaxing and heavy, unlike the Haze types. Some common Kushes include: OG Kush, Bubba Kush, Hindu Kush, Mango Kush, Bubble Gum Kush, Lemon Kush, Afghan Kush, Master Kush, Blackberry Kush, and the list goes on and on.
  • The Diesels: These strains can be sativa, indica, or anything in between, but they tend to be more sativa dominant or leaning towards a hybrid. The exact origin of this subgroup is not fully understood, but the most common Diesel is probably Sour Diesel. Plenty of other variations also exist, including NYC Diesel, Purple Diesel, Raspberry Diesel, Strawberry Diesel, Super Diesel, White Diesel, Turbo Diesel, and many more.
  • The Heirloom Strains: These strains are considered to be of the purest form and are somewhat thought of as the original choices for breeding, serving as the foundational types for many of the existing current breeds. Some of these heirloom strains include African, Afghani, Thai, Hawaiian, Jamaican Gold, Acapulco Gold, Columbian, Cambodian Red, Mexican Red, and Panama Red.

Aside from these four mentioned major group classifications, hundreds of thousands of other cannabis strain types do exist, and many of them have reached immense popularity, while some remain almost completely unheard of. The variety is honestly quite literally endless.

Final Thoughts About How Many Different Marijuana Strains There Are

Although now there is some clarification surrounding the commonly asked question, “how many different kinds of marijuana are there?”, it is hard to concretely define exactly how many different types of cannabis exist, but what we know for sure is that the plant can be classified into the three species types (Cannabis sativa, indica, and ruderalis).

This article is especially tailored to those who were wondering about this commonly discussed question that has existed probably since cannabis first started being widely consumed. We hope you found this article to not only be entertaining but also educational and informative. It is important to remember that the consumption of marijuana is the sole responsibility of the user and discretion should always be taken.

Beginner’s Guide to Marijuana Strains

Cannabis use is on the rise in the United States. A 2018 study notes that, while cannabis use among teens has decreased, American adults are increasingly using cannabis on the daily.

According to Forbes, the global cannabis industry is estimated to be worth $7.7 billion. It’s projected to hit $31.4 billion by 2021.

The industry is booming in part because cannabis can be a versatile form of medication. A number of research studies have found that cannabis has the potential to help with a variety of medical conditions, including anxiety, chronic pain, and epilepsy.

But, as any recreational or medical marijuana user can tell you, not all cannabis is created equal. Different strains of cannabis produce different effects, and thus can be used for different reasons.

If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re looking to try it, but not sure which strains best suit your needs, we’ve got you covered. Check out our guide to marijuana strains below.

What is a marijuana strain?

If you’ve read a little about marijuana, or if you enter most dispensaries, you might see the words indica, sativa, and hybrid. Generally, most people divide marijuana into these three categories.

Indica, which originates from the Hindu Kush mountains of India, is believed to have a relaxing effect on the user. Sativa has a more energizing effect, while hybrid is a combination of the two.

Many industry experts, however, are reconsidering the indica, sativa and hybrid categories. According to Amos Elberg, head of data science at Confident Cannabis, these terms are more or less meaningless.

“We see samples of all cannabis products tested through our partner labs, and when we look at all the data, particularly of the chemical makeup of flower, we see no identifiable characteristics that are consistent with indica, sativa, or hybrid,” he explains.

“Essentially people are using these terms as catchalls for effect, but they’re not all consistent with those effects. Some indica makes some people wired, not couch-locked, for instance.”

In other words, people shouldn’t be alarmed if a reportedly energizing sativa strain has more of a mellowing effect, or if an indica strain makes them feel more bubbly and excitable.

Beyond indica, sativa, and hybrid, dispensaries might divide the types of cannabis they have into strains. Strains are essentially different breeds of cannabis, and they’re bred to have specific effects on the user.

But if the terms indica, sativa, and hybrid are essentially useless categorizations, are strain names also meaningless?

Not exactly, says Elberg.

“Not all seeds that are sold under the same name are genetically identical, or even necessarily related. Some producers may choose to create a strain name essentially as a branding exercise, or to identify their product with an existing name because they believe the product matches characteristics the market expects from product sold under that name,” Elberg explains.

There are, however, still consistencies among product sold under specific strain names, Elberg adds.

“In general, for the less common names, product sold by different vendors tends to be pretty consistent,” he notes. “For the most common strain names, however, a wider variety of different products are sold.”

If you purchase product from a quality source, the strains should be more or less consistent. Bear in mind, however, that every person reacts differently to cannabis.

How to choose a strain

The strain you choose depends on what effect you desire. As mentioned earlier, cannabis has a range of medical uses, but some strains are better for certain conditions than others.

It’s also worth researching the potential adverse effects of the strain. Many of the more common strains, which you can find below, list dry mouth, dry eyes, and dizziness as possible side effects. Marijuana also has the potential to interact with medications you might be taking. Do not operate machinery when using marijuana.

Check with your doctorIf you’re interested in trying cannabis, and you’re looking to help treat a medical condition or currently taking any medications, speak with your doctor first.

Different types of strains

According to user reviews on Leafly, here’s what people might expect from a few of the most popular marijuana strains.

Acapulco Gold

Originating from Acapulco, Mexico, Acapulco Gold is a well-known and highly praised strain of cannabis. It’s noted for its euphoria-inducing, energizing effects. It’s said to reduce fatigue, stress, pain, and even nausea.

Blue Dream

Blue Dream is relaxing and soothing, but it isn’t a total sedative. This makes it perfect for easing pain, cramps, or inflammation for when you can’t afford to fall asleep. Plus, it’s said to lift your mood and give you a feeling of euphoria.

Purple Kush

Purple Kush is great for inducing a state of bliss so that you feel relaxed, happy, and sleepy. It’s often used for reducing pain and muscle spasms. Its sedating effects means it can be used to reduce insomnia.

Sour Diesel

A highly energizing, mood-lifting strain, Sour Diesel is great for giving you a burst of productive energy. It also has notable destressing and pain-relieving effects.

Bubba Kush

Bubba Kush is a relaxing, sleep-inducing strain. It’s perfect for helping you fight insomnia and get some shut-eye. It also offers pain-reducing, stress-relieving results.

Granddaddy Purple

Granddaddy Purple is another highly relaxing strain. It’s often praised for its insomnia-fighting and stress-reducing results. Users also note that it can make you feel euphoria and increase hunger, which is great if you’re experiencing a lack of appetite.

Afghan Kush

Originating from the Hindu Kush mountains near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, Afghan Kush is super relaxing and sleep-inducing. This, too, can help you feel hungry if you’re experiencing a lack of appetite, and can relieve pain.

LA Confidential

LA Confidential is another relaxing and sleep-inducing strain that is often used to soothe insomnia. It’s also said to have noticeable anti-inflammatory and pain-reducing effects, which makes it a favorite among people with chronic pain.

Maui Wowie

Maui Wowie can help you feel super relaxed, yet energetic and creative. It reduces fatigue, too, making it great for days when you need to be productive.

Golden Goat

Golden Goat is notable for making users feel euphoric and creative. It’s also great for reducing fatigue and stress while lifting your mood.

Northern Lights

Northern Lights is another relaxing, sleep-inducing strain. It’s also known for its mood-lifting effects, and it can be used to relieve insomnia, pain, stress, and depression.

White Widow

White Widow improves your mood, gives you energy, and relaxes you all at once. It’s said to help reduce pain and stress, as well as feelings of depression. If you’re feeling fatigued, White Widow might help you stay energized and alert.

Super Silver Haze

Another energizing strain, Super Silver Haze is said to produce feelings of euphoria, relieves pain and nausea, and lifts your mood. This makes it excellent for stress relief.

Pineapple Express

Made famous by the 2008 eponymous movie, Pineapple Express has a pineapple-like scent. It’s relaxing and mood lifting, but is also said to give you an energetic buzz. This is the sort of strain that could be great for productivity.

Fruity Pebbles

Fruity Pebbles OG, or FPOG, is associated with inducing euphoria and relaxation, which could make it great for stress relief. It often makes users feel giggly, helps reduce nausea, and increases appetite.

Useful products

If marijuana is legal in your state and you’re interested in trying — or even growing — different types of cannabis strains, there are a number of products that can make your life a little easier.

Growing Laws Legislation around growing marijuana differs from state to state. Before you decide to grow, make sure you’ve done your research.

Volcano Vaporizer

Some people might prefer inhaling cannabis over smoking it through a pipe, bong, or joint. This desktop vaporizer heats up cannabis and expels the vapor into a balloon. The person then inhales the air from the balloon.

The vaporizer can be used with dried herbs or liquid concentrates, and can be purchased here.

Magical Butter Kit

Cannabutter — or cannabis-infused butter — is the basis of many edibles. Unfortunately, making cannabutter can be a lengthy and labor-intensive process.

This butter kit, however, makes it easy to infuse herbs into butter. It has its own heating unit and thermostat, which ensures that the product and butter are at the ideal temperature throughout the process.

tCheck Dosage Checker

The tCheck Dosage Checker tests the strength of cannabis-infused liquids — like alcohol-based tinctures. It can also test cannabis-infused olive oil, ghee (clarified butter), and coconut butter, which will help you determine how strong your edibles are before you indulge.

Unfortunately, it only checks liquids, not dried herb.

Palm Mincer

Grinding up cannabis can be time-consuming, so the Palm Mincer can be quite useful. It fits perfectly into your palm, and it can be used to chop up cannabis quickly and efficiently. What’s more it’s dishwasher safe, so it’s easy to clean off the sticky cannabis resin. You can buy it I here.

Harvest Starter Kit

If you want to start growing your own cannabis, this convenient starter kit contains everything you need to harvest it.

The grow kit includes a trimming tray, a microscope for examining the buds to determine whether they’re ready for harvest, three types of pruning shears, a disinfecting spray for your tools, a drying rack, and gloves.

Note: Even if marijuana is legal in your state, it continues to be illegal under federal law.

Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and journalist based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.

Table Of Contents

Marijuana Origins
Marijuana Classification
Types of Marijuana
Understanding The Difference Between Weed Strains
Marijuana Plant Genders

Marijuana Origins

Marijuana has been used medically and recreationally for millennia. Initially, it was used medically and spiritually, and it’s been around for over 12,000 years. It is said to have originally grown in the dumping grounds of prehistoric hunters. (1) In more modern history, however, the plants of Cannabis indica and Cannabis sativa have been around since the 18th century. Cannabis hybrids are a pretty new invention, but we’ll get into all of that later.

This guide will help you to understand the different types of weed available to you, let you know their differences, and help you figure out which one might be the best for you.

Marijuana Classification

How did the classification process start? The classification of marijuana has been a thing for quite some time. Scientific differentiation between the indica and sativa plants began in the late 18th century. Primarily, the taxonomic differences were focused on structure and resin. The original classification was made by French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck in 1785. (2)

The French biologist noted that some of the cannabis plants had an intoxicating effect. In contrast to the hemp crops, the ones observed by Lamarck were later named indica to separate cannabis of Indian origin from those found in Europe.

In modern times, since 1970, cannabis has been categorized into three types. Cannabis can either be sativa, indica or ruderalis. These three categories of weed all have distinct differences and unique characteristics, and they can each be used in a variety of wonderful ways. More recently, however, we have developed hybrid strains of marijuana. Hybrids are, as you might imagine, a mix of genetic strains combined together to create unique characteristics, appearances, and effects.

Types of Marijuana

Marijuana is used for medical purposes all across the country, and in some states recreational use is legal too. There is a huge variety of effects weed use can have, both physically and mentally. Most of these effects are positive, but don’t be mistaken – there are certainly negative effects, too. The most common and consistent effect, however, is that it provides a relaxed and calming effect for the user. Weed may help you combat stress and relieve pain and inflammation, among other things.

The basic reactions of weed include dry mouth, an increase in blood pressure, and an increased appetite. Positive reactions include a relaxed state of being, physical pain relief, and a heightened sense of smell, touch, taste, and hearing. There are, of course, negative reactions as well that some people may find unpleasant. Weed can cause paranoia and anxiety for the user, and some may experience a lack of motivation while using it.

There are many different types of weed (referred to as strains), but the three key categories you need to keep in mind when looking for what weed will be best for you are sativa, indica, and ruderalis. There are also hybrid strains. Hybrid simply indicates the mixing of seeds from different plants and strains with the intention of creating a strain of weed that combines the best parts of the plants into one versatile and dynamic strain.


Indica is believed to have originated from the Hindu Kush region near Afghanistan. It is most commonly found above a latitude of 30° N in countries like Nepal, Lebanon, Morocco, and Afghanistan.

The indica plant can be identified by its short and bushy appearance. It also has a shorter maturation cycle than sativa and generally produces heavier yields. Indica and sativa also tend to have different flavor profiles.

Indica strains are generally the most commonly used for medicinal purposes. This is because it primarily affects the body, and it can be instrumental in providing pain relief and reducing inflammation. It can also be used to help improve your sleep, and it has been used in many states where medical cannabis is legal to help people who have trouble sleeping.

Users can expect a relaxing and calming effect. It can also make users sleepy (hence why it is given to people who have trouble sleeping) and hungry (it can be used to increase your appetite). Indica strains are typically seen as being more suitable for nighttime use. This is because it is more relaxing than its sativa counterpart, which offers a more invigorating effect.

Indica strains are generally high in CBD. CBD is non-psychoactive, meaning that users will not get “high” from it. It is also what allows it to have so many medical uses since it instead offers therapeutic effects. If you aren’t familiar with CBD, Healthy Hemp Oil has information on CBD and a CBD buyers guide to help you decide which CBD product is best for you.

Some examples of the top Indica strains include Purple Haze, Northern Lights, and Granddaddy Purple.


The sativa plant is generally the most popular plant consumed for recreational use. This plant grows quite large, reaching up to 15 feet in some cases. While it is not a thick plant, many growers like it due to how tall it can grow. It has a longer maturation cycle than indica plants and tends to produce lower yields.

The sativa plant offers a more heady experience than its indica counterpart. Sativa is often described as uplifting and energizing and is said to be excellent for boosting creativity. As such, it can also be very effective at combating low mood and attention disorders. Furthermore, the energizing effects of sativa strains mean that it is said by many to be great for morning or afternoon use.

However, sativa is typically high in THC (which gets users “high”), and so, unlike indica strains, which have a more balanced level of CBD, it isn’t often prescribed medically and is more commonly used recreationally. It can sometimes be used to combat the problems mentioned in the previous paragraph, and it is still used in Ayurveda medicine. (3)

Some of the most popular sativa strains include Sour Diesel, Jack Herer, and Lemon Haze.


The Cannabis ruderalis plant is less common than its sativa and indica cousins, and it’s most likely the one you’re the least familiar with. The plant generally reaches a maximum height of two feet tall, but its leaves and branches tend to be quite dense, which gives the ruderalis plant a bushy appearance.

The plant is mainly grown up north because its flowering cycle begins early. Since the cold season hits earlier in the north, it is the ideal choice for many growers. Modern ruderalis hybrids usually begin to flower between 21 and 30 days after the seeds have been planted, regardless of the light cycle. This is why most ruderalis hybrids are attributed as “autoflowering” strains.

It isn’t as popular as sativa or indica because it lacks the same psychotropic effects found in those plants. This is mainly because it has naturally low concentrations of THC. It is often used by breeders and cultivators looking for a genetic source for marijuana hybrids, because of its ability to grow in colder climates and its “autoflowering” qualities.


In today’s market, most strains you’ll find will be a hybrid of some sort. Breeders will carefully cultivate their plants to create the best hybrids possible, taking aspects from different plants and strains and combining them together for greater and more varied effects. As such, there are a huge amount of hybrid types, and more are being developed every day. Instead of marijuana plants falling into one of the above categories, they now more often range across a wide variety of them.

Different hybrids contain different advantages, of course, and the idea of combining strains is to try to match all of the positive qualities of various strains into one plant.

There are many reasons to combine strains together. Some of the benefits growers gain by making hybrid plants include specific flowering cycles, different concentrations of cannabinoids (more specifically, the ratios of CBD and THC), or even just cosmetic choices, like appearance and aroma.

What users can expect from hybrid strains depends on the balance of plants. Sativa dominant hybrids, for example, typically provide more mental relief and combat stress and anxiety, paired with a relaxing feel that can be helpful for managing minor pain or discomfort. Indica dominant hybrids, on the other hand, generally provide considerable relaxation effects and can be ideal for moderate pain relief or for helping people sleep right through the night.

Some popular examples of hybrid strains include Sour Diesel, Trainwreck, and Blueberry.

Understanding The Difference Between Weed Strains

While they come from the same plant family, indica and sativa are as different as they come.

  • Growth period – While indica plants tend to have a high yield with faster growth, sativa plants take much longer to grow and mature.
  • THC and CBD content – When dried and prepared, sativa plants tend to provide higher THC levels with lower CBD. Indica is the opposite, presenting lower THC levels with higher CBD content.
  • Effects – The different CBD-THC ratios in these plants naturally leads to different effects. Indica is more often associated with feelings of mental and physical relaxation, reduced nausea, and increased appetite. Sativa is more likely to reduce feelings of anxiety and depression, and increase focus and creativity. While both may help with pain, sativa is shown to reduce chronic pain, while indica reduces more acute pains.
  • Neurotransmitters – Indica is known to increase dopamine, the neurotransmitter in charge of the brain’s reward and pleasure centers. Sativa increases serotonin, which helps to regulate mood, learning, sleep, and anxiety.
  • Time of day – While you can certainly use either strain whenever you want, indica is more suited to nighttime use thanks to its relaxing, sedative effects that may help to promote more restful sleep. Sativa may be better suited to daytime use as it can keep you more calm, focused, and level-headed.

Marijuana Plant Genders

Male and Female

Weed plants have genders? They sure do! Marijuana plants can be either male or female. Male plants are easier to identify after they mature. Racemes (small flower stalks) begin forming towards the base of its flowers, and pollen will be released when the flowers open. When the flowers open, the plant releases airborne pollen which sticks to and is absorbed by the pistils of the female plant. Male plants generally develop sooner than females, which makes identification easier.

Like the male plants, female plants also produce racemes. Female plants, however, are a blend of tiny pistils and calyces (calyx). In each of the calyces, there is an ovule, which acts as the receptor for the pollen from the male plant. The pistil will get pollen stuck to it, which then gets pushed into the calyx, and the fertilization process begins. Like in all cases of reproduction, the resulting seeds will end up with genes from both parents.

Hermaphrodite Plants

Although rare to occur naturally, plants may exhibit both male and female sex organs. These plants can, in fact, perform fertilization themselves, which can be extremely useful to breeders. It doesn’t occur frequently in nature but has evolved as a self-preservation device for the species.

Not all hermaphroditic plants are the same, however. They can fall into three categories. They either have a high volume of male flowers, a high volume of female flowers, or an equal volume of both. Typically speaking, plants that have a higher volume of female flowers are most useful to breeders. This is because those kinds of hermaphrodite plants are genetically female, so their pollen can be used to fertilize female plants and produce feminized seeds.


Many growers aren’t looking to pollinate their female plants, however. This is because, in unpollinated plants, more energy is devoted to producing cannabinoids – instead of being used up on reproduction organs and seed production – and buds of greater value to the grower and the consumer.

Unpollinated plants will have more sugar, THC, and much denser flowers, as well as a better fragrance. This is ideal, especially for medicinal purposes, where the efficiency is very important for patients who are in need of the active ingredient. Sinsemilla is often considered a better experience for both recreational and medicinal users.

Knowing the differences between strains and plant species is key to understanding how weed can improve your life. There are a vast amount of ways that marijuana can positively impact your world and improve your everyday quality of life. From the calming and pain management effects of indica strains to the invigorating impact of sativa, discover how weed can fit into your life.

Understanding which kind of weed is right for you is extremely important. There are many different types available to you, and each can help you in different ways. Hopefully, this guide has helped you make that important decision or helped educate you on what you need to be aware of. Know your needs and know your options. Weed could be the remedy you’ve been searching for.

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