Cannabis plant anatomy

Published Jan 25, 2019 04:45 p.m. ET

Everything you need to know to locate and label a marijuana plant

Welcome to our Cannabis plant anatomy fact sheet. If you have ever purchased weed, then you likely know that you are buying a neat little bag filled with hard dyed nuggets. Do you know where those beautiful buds come from though? Of course, the obvious answer would be a marijuana plant, but do you know exactly which part of the weed plant is smoked? Or what it takes to develop those buds in the first place? Here we will explain all the basics of plant anatomy and the purpose of every part of a marijuana plant. To start, we will explain the very first stage and importance of a male vs a female marijuana plant.

Males vs females

Both male and female marijuana plants have an essential role to play in the genetics and reproduction of any strain.

Male cannabis plants

Males are often overlooked because for most growers and users they are practically useless. They offer very little yield, almost no THC content and can destroy an entire crop just by being picked a few days late. For the strains those same growers choose though, the male is incredibly important because of the genetics it carries and will pass on. Just like in humans, the male provides 50% of the genetics. This is most relevant when creating new strains or hybrids. You cannot create a new strain with only females outside of a lab. Females plants will not pollinate other females. Males are also the only plants that will produce a large number of seeds that are easy to harvest in bulk.

Female cannabis plants

The female plant is the most sought after by growers and tokers alike. Female plants will give large seedless yields, produce the most terpenes and highest levels of THC and are the most widely grown of the two.

Anatomy

Here we will break down the more complex terms for the anatomy of Cannabis plants. What precisely each one means, what they do, and where you can locate them.

Terminal bud or Cola-Cola is one part of the female marijuana plant where the buds meet at the stem of the plant. The size and number of Colas can be multiplied with trimming, growing, and training the plant.

Calyx- The term calyx translates to covering or husk. Calyx is the proper term for the tear-shaped leaves that form the buds themselves. If a female plant is fertilized, the calyx will form a protective barrier or pocket for the seeds to develop within. If not fertilized then the calyx will provide the highest density of trichomes of any other part of the cannabis plant.

Trichomes- Trichomes, to be adequately viewed must be placed under a microscope. Trichomes are the resin glands. These powerful little things are responsible for those shiny crystals that cover your bud and produce the majority of the marijuana plants psychoactive effects.

Pistil- Pistils are the tiny white, red, orange, or brown hairs that grow on the outsides of the bud. Pistols are often thought to hold relevance when determining the quality of a bud. The fact is that while they are pretty, they contain absolutely no trichomes and have almost no real influence over the terpene and cannabinoid count.

Fan Leaf - Large protruding leaves from the stem of the plant are referred to as fan leaves. Each stem will produce anywhere from five to nine fan leaves with Sitivas generally producing the most. Fan leaves are used by those looking for the therapeutic effect of THC-1 without the high. Fan leaves can be juiced, eaten or infused into an oil or butter. While raw fan leaves will produce little to no effect at all, once heated they may contain some THC. They will not contain as much as the bud itself will provide.

Visual guide of plant anatomy

The study of cannabis plant anatomy will help you to understand the structural aspects of the plant, as well as the specific components required to give you the more desirable effect. It might help to look at a weed plant drawing or image. Understanding cannabis plant anatomy should allow you to achieve a more predictable result that you can watch and understand as your plant makes it through each stage of growth.

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