Let’s take a deeper look into male and female cannabis plants. From there, we’ll see what causes some specimens to develop both male and female reproductive organs.
The ability to determine plant sex as early as possible is a critical skill for cannabis growers. Know as “Sexing Cannabis”, as you develop this eye for identifying plant sex, you will be able to prevent any accidental pollination.
HERMAPHRODITES: WHEN CANNABIS PLANTS BECOME MONOECIOUS
“Banana” hermaphrodites get their name from their physical characteristics. Instead of producing separate organs, they develop a bare pollen-producing stamen within the female flower. This naked appendage drops pollen directly onto buds to ensure self-reproduction. These stamens share a similar shape and colour to a certain tropical fruit, hence their name.
These protruding structures are designed to capture pollen, which leads to fertilisation. They stick out away from the flower to capture pollen from the air, and to await being brushed up against by pollen-covered insects.
Of course, growers want to avoid this phenomenon if they’re aiming for the best flowers possible. We’ll dive deeper into what causes hermaphroditism and how to avoid it below.
Female weed plants are distinguished by the development of bracts with small white hairs (stigma’s) on their nodes. A node is the part of the plant where branches and leaves emerge from the stem. After a while, the female plant starts pushing out more and more of these hairs until they swell up from the bottom up. This means the plant is now forming ‘calyxes’ that eventually stack up to become the flower as we know it.
The cannabis plants most consumers know and love are often female. As these are the plants that produce the smokeable flowers – the dried buds – but which can also be grown at home. These weed flowers, buds, or ‘colas’ are covered in trichomes / resin which holds the plant’s active components, like cannabinoids and terpenes. Male cannabis plants however are less popular with consumers, as their only task in life is to release pollen into the air.
Feminized Cannabis Seeds
Female cannabis plants are easy to spot once they start showing the first signs of flowering
Male Cannabis Plants are recognized by the formation of pollen sacs on the plant’s nodes. This happens around the same time as female reproductive organs should be forming. Although female plants tend to develop their reproductive organs a bit faster. Luckily, these male pollen sacs can be distinguished pretty easily. As they look like small balls hanging from the side of the plant; instead of the upward facing hairs from the female plant.
Because when cannabis plants turn ‘hermaphrodite’, they do so in order to pollinate themselves. Turning hermaphrodite is an evolutionary strategy of cannabis plants, designed to save the species in hard times.It allows the plant to produce seeds no matter what; even when there are no males around (for example, because the source of the ‘stress’ killed off all male plants).
There are a number of different causes of hermaphroditism in cannabis plants. These include:
WHAT IS HERMAPHRODITISM?
The poor handling and manipulation of seeds can also increase the chances of a plant being hermaphroditic. This can include feminization, an unnatural process used by seedbanks and breeders to guarantee a high percentage of female plants in their seeds. Done correctly, feminization will only produce female plants. Done poorly, some hermaphrodites can occur.
Using a growing medium that is too acidic or alkaline is another big stressor for cannabis.