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Poisonous, A rough, rather rank-smelling, leafy, simple or branched herb 0.9–4.5 m. tall, the male plants taller and more slender, dying soon after flowering, the females stockier and living several months after pollination; stems angular, covered with rather short stiffish hairs.
Flowers small and green, crowded on axillary clusters, Male and female flowers on different plants or rarely on one plant but then one sex predominating.
Achene (“seed ”, actually consisting of the seed with a hard shell tightly covered by the thin ovary wall) ellipsoid or subglobose, slightly compressed, keeled, shiny, 2.5–5 mm. long, 2–3.5 mm. wide, greyish to brownish and usually covered with a pale “ map-like ” network.