Please Don't Call the DEA

Q: Could you please identify the unnamed leaves on page 96 of the September 2008 issue of Southern Living? Sure looks like cannabis. Marilynne S.

A: At Southern Living, we deal in parties, pies, placemats, and pilates. We do not deal in weed. The leaves in question belong to Japanese maple and do indeed resemble those of marijuana. The leaves of a number of innocent plants do as well, including:

1. Spider flower (Cleome hasslerana) 2. Chaste tree (Vitex agnus-castus) 3. Texas star (Hibiscus coccineus) 4. Tickseed (Bidens coronata)

If you come upon leaves like these in the photo and wonder whether they're from Japanese maple or marijuana, here a surefire way to distinguish them. • Japanese maple leaves turn bright colors in fall. • Marijuana leaves make you see bright colors year-round.

I get by with a little help from my friends, Grumpy

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