A small genus of perennial plants of the family Datiscaceae, the members of which have alternate pinnate leaves and nitrogen-fixing capabilities. Also (in form datisca): any plant of or formerly included in this genus; especially bastard hemp, D. cannabina, a yellow-flowered plant native from the eastern Mediterranean to the Himalayas, formerly used as a purgative and as the source of a yellow dye.
Mid 18th century; earliest use found in James Lee (1715–1795), nurseryman. From scientific Latin Datisca (LinnaeusSpecies Plantarum II. 1037) from post-classical Latin datisca, apparently denoting an unrelated plant, usually identified as a species of the genus Catananche (family Asteraceae (Compositae)), of uncertain origin.