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Female plants take a bit longer than males to show signs of gender after flowering. The plants begin to develop a few wispy white hairs where the buds will soon grow. These flowers begin to form between the stalk and stem. Female pistils are always white (never green).

Cannabis Plants: Male, female and hermaphrodite

Determining the gender of your cannabis plants is the first step to a successful grow. Female plants are the only ones that produce bud cannabis. While it is fairly easy to spot the gender difference, cannabis does come with a curveball. Plants can also be hermaphrodites. And female plants can switch to this state during growing stress.

Cannabis plants are not gender neutral. There are female plants, from which the actual bud flower comes. Male plants produce the pollen. However, the cannabis plant is a bit odd in this respect. Female plants can turn hermaphrodite in certain circumstances – meaning they are both male and female. This happens in a situation where the plant is highly stressed, and fears for its ongoing survival. It becomes both genders as a last resort to self-pollinate and continue to spread seeds.

CANNABIS IS FROM BOTH MARS AND VENUS

Regular cannabis seeds are usually about 50% male and 50% female. The female plants produce bud cannabis. Male plants produce seed pods. They can also produce tiny amounts of THC via trichomes on the leaves. However, if you are not growing your cannabis as a science experiment don’t mess with male plants. It is a waste of time.

Obviously, particularly to the non-expert, all seeds look alike. That is why it is so important when growing cannabis, to buy seeds from a dealer or seed bank. While the plant is in the early stages of growing, it is also impossible to determine gender.

There is only one more problem. Cannabis plants can be both male and female in the right circumstances.

CANNABIS AND THE SEXES

Cannabis is actually much like other plants – with most having this ability. In essence, female plants have the ability to develop male characteristics. This usually occurs thanks to environmental stress. Plants will develop male characteristics at a certain point in the grow cycle in an effort to ensure seeds are produced before the stressor can kill the plant.

Such stress includes changes to hours of darkness during flowering, dramatic changes in temperature, drought and physical damage.

There are other environmental factors which can stress a plant into a sex conversion. This includes as a reaction to insects or disease. It can also occur with the use or overuse of certain kinds of pesticides and fungicides.

However, this tendency is also considered to be a sign of inferior plants. A good mother plant will not show signs of hermaphroditism even when subjected to this kind of stress. All cannabis can turn, but high-quality genetics will resist the urge the most.

As in the human world, hermaphrodite plants are considered a bit strange. In the cannabis one, they are dreaded. Breeders suggest removing such plants from a grow. The reason? They could create accidental pollination of the buds. If a pollen sac from one of these plants is allowed to come in contact with the buds of other plants, those buds will stop developing. They will instead, produce more flowers and seeds.

WHEN DO CANNABIS PLANTS SHOW GENDER?

The first sign of gender appears at the V shape on the plant where stalk meets stem. The plant will develop little green shoots or pre-flowers here. The plant may show pre-flowers when in the vegetative or growing stage. This is also more the case when the plant is a clone.

However, there are other ways to find out if any of your plants are hermaphrodites. The first is to check the kind of flowers they produce. The second comes at the end of the growing process. However, it is important to check before you grow the next time. If you find seeds in your harvested bud and you know you have no males, you have a hermaphrodite plant.

WHAT TO LOOK FOR

The first answer is an established breeder. The best way to start with an all-female crop is to buy the feminized seeds from an established source.

However, since this is a problem that will not disappear during the growing process, here are some guidelines for checking your grow.

Female plants take a bit longer than males to show signs of gender after flowering. The plants begin to develop a few wispy white hairs where the buds will soon grow. These flowers begin to form between the stalk and stem. Female pistils are always white (never green).

Male plants literally have grape-sized “balls” of pollen. The balls will show up about a week or two after the plant has entered the flowering stage. They also produce a growth that is a distinct yellow colour and look a bit like bananas.

If the male is allowed to continue growing, the pollen sacs will burst open. The pollen they spill can contaminate your other plants.

Hermaphrodite plants have both male and female flowers. That is also why it is so important to remove them.

ISN’T THIS LIKE ROCKET SCIENCE?

While it sounds complicated, it really isn’t. Growers who start with the right seeds and maintain a healthy grow environment do not have many problems. For this reason, however, it is important to watch your cannabis plants.

It is fairly easy to spot the difference in buds as the plants mature. That is also why it is generally a good idea to grow more than one plant – even the first time. Observation, practice and patience are the keys to a good and healthy grow. Feminized seeds produce femal plants 99% of time, and should one turn hemaphrodite, simply take care to remove it.

I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room. I’ve heard that light leakage can cause plants to become hermaphrodites. Is this true, and if so, do you have any tips for avoiding this?

Why am I seeing seeds in the buds of my cannabis plants?

I have an indoor growroom and in my recent harvest I found seeds in the buds, but I’m sure there are no male plants in the room. I’ve heard that light leakage can cause plants to become hermaphrodites. Is this true, and if so, do you have any tips for avoiding this?

Cannabis plants are monecious. This means they have the ability to be either male or female. Or in the case of hermaphroditism, they can be both. The reason to make sure there are no males or hermaphrodites in your garden is because male flowers make pollen. When pollen touches the white hairs on a flower, it makes a seed, and seeded weed gives you headaches. Even though there are reasons in nature hermaphroditism could be important, such as continuing the species in case there is no male present, hermaphroditism is generally a bad thing when talking about cannabis plants.

Light poisoning is the most common cause for a normal plant to hermaphrodite. Light poisoning refers to the flowering night cycle of a plant being unnaturally interrupted with light. The best way to prevent this is to close yourself inside your darkened room during the daylight, and then after allowing a few minutes for your eyes to adjust to the dark, check for any light leaks from covered windows, door jams, etc. Also cover all timer and appliance lights with tape.

Negative stressors can combine with small interruptions of the light cycle to cause hermaphroditism, especially with less-stable, clone-only hybridized strains. When the night cycle is abnormally interrupted, it sends a mixed hormonal signal to the plant. This can cause a full female plant to throw some male flowers. Male flowers are easy to identify, especially when side by side with female flowers. Male flowers look like small bunches of bananas, which will take a week or two to swell before they burst and release their pollen.

Finding a hermaphrodite in your growroom can happen at any stage of the flowering cycle and is indicated by the presence of male flowers growing on the same plant as female flowers. As with all species in nature this can occur in varying degrees. A plant can become slightly or majorly hermaphroditic. In cases where singular male flowers are found between the branch and stalk nodes, you should be diligently removing them as they grow. You must re-inspect the plant top to bottom every few days to be sure pollination and seeding doesn’t occur. If you find male flowers (anthers) actually growing from within the female flowers (buds) the situation is a little more dire. You can still remove all the male anatomy as it appears, but it will be harder to find and much more prevalent. This is a horrible discovery that leads to a tough decision: Should you let the plant live and risk the whole crop being ruined by seeds?

In either case, once hermaphroditism has compromised the safety and purity of your sensimilla, the plant should not be propagated further. Remember, once a hermy, always a hermy. The plant pictured here is in the tenth and what should have been the final week of ripening, but a timer failed and one light stayed on continuously for almost two weeks, causing this vegetative regrowth. Because the light was continuous, the plant made no pollen. This method of re-vegging can be used to save a flowering plant you have no copies of, but be careful, as this may cause some strains to hermaphrodite.

Purposefully causing a plant to hermaphrodite is called selfing. Gibberellic acid or colloidal silver is typically sprayed onto the female plant. This technique is used to make feminized seeds and uses the plant’s ability to be both male and female to force a female plant to produce male flowers. The pollen contained in these male flowers can only produce female seeds. Just keep in mind that feminized plants should not be used for breeding, as they were produced without a true male, making them genetically inferior.

Female plants take a bit longer than males to show signs of gender after flowering. The plants begin to develop a few wispy white hairs where the buds

cannabis seed pods

The pistils are also the best tool a grower to spot the difference between the male and the female plants. It is important to recognize the male plants early on so they can be removed and any risk of pollination can be minimized or even excluded. Female plants can be recognized by their long white hairs, that will begin to form early in the flowering stages of forming the buds or colas. The male plants will have pollen sacks, that will start to dangle in a downward fashion and eventually will burst open to pollinate the female calyxes.

Getting To Know The Cannabis Calyx, Resinous To The Top

Knowing what a calyx is and what parts the calyx is comprised of can provide the cannabis grower with tips and tools to help with a successful and easy harvest.

WHAT IS A CALYX

The calyx is the first part of the flower that is formed when a young plant enters its flowering stage, if it is indeed a plant that is capable of flowering of course. In a perfect spiraling Fibonacci sequence the plant quickly and in the most efficient way forms a protective platform comprising of small leaves, which are called the sepals. This protective platform for the flower in its entirity is called the calyx.

The calyx is designed to protect the plants reproductive organs in between the sepals and provide the flower with a base of stability. Even though all flowering male and female plants have calyxes, it is when looking at cannabis plants specifically, that only the calyxes of the female plants are of interest to the aspiring cannabis grower.

When cultivating cannabis, the objective is to harvest nice big colas of which the calyxes are a part. Not just any ordinary part, but the most important part, because the calyxes are where you find the reproductive organs of the plant, called the pistils, and the trichomes.

The pistils are where you see the long hairs coming from; these hairs are called stigmas. The stigmas will start out white when the plant is still in its early flowering stage, but will turn amber or yellow, and ultimately brown, as the plant progresses through its flowering stage. The trichomes are the resin glands where the cannabinoids are formed, including the psychoactive and more familiar THC.

WHAT DOES THE CALYX TELL AN EXPERIENCED GROWER

The pistils are also the best tool a grower to spot the difference between the male and the female plants. It is important to recognize the male plants early on so they can be removed and any risk of pollination can be minimized or even excluded. Female plants can be recognized by their long white hairs, that will begin to form early in the flowering stages of forming the buds or colas. The male plants will have pollen sacks, that will start to dangle in a downward fashion and eventually will burst open to pollinate the female calyxes.

The stigmas or long hairs can help a grower identify when a plant is ready to be harvested. In the first weeks a female cannabis flower or bud is formed, it will have long white hairs coming out if it. After 4 to 5 weeks the stigmas will start to turn yellowish. When about 50 to 80 percent of your plants’ buds have stigmas, that have turned yellow or amber, they are ready to be harvested. If you harvest later, the stigmas will turn brown and dry out; do not wait this long to harvest your cannabis plants, as it will have your buds lose potency and taste.

In fact most of the cannabinoids are formed in the pistils and the calyxes of the cannabis plant. This is the flower part of the plant, that will eventually be harvested, dried and cured and ultimately will be ready for consumption.

The consumption part is why you do not want your female plants to be pollinated; they would start to form seeds, which are a real hassle to remove and leave a horrible taste and crackling sound when smoked. Also most of the female plants energy will be diverted into making the seeds, not swelling up the buds and forming cannabinoids.

If you intentionally aim to make your own strain of cannabis by crossing two breeds or strains, watch the calyxes of your developing plants to identify the males and females you want to use for your experiment.

WHAT IS A CALYX-TO-LEAF RATIO

When harvesting your cannabis plants, you will have to trim off the leaves to expose the buds, which then in turn can be properly dried and cured.

The big leaves, that grow lower on the plant and in between the budding areas, but not in the buds or cola’s themselves, are called fan leaves; these are basically the solar panels of the plant. These leaves provide the plant with the energy it needs to grow and form buds. The few fan leaves that remain after pruning during the flowering stage can be easily trimmed away at harvest when growing indoors. When growing outdoors, most fan leaves will still be attached to the plant at the end of the flowering stage but these can be easily removed at the time of harvesting.

There are also leaves sticking out of the buds themselves; these are called sugar leaves, because they are coated with trichomes, that look sugary white, and these are a lot harder to trim, because the high level of resin makes them very sticky. Sticky leaves mean you will have to clean your equipment more and the tools you are using will get harder to operate due to the moving parts getting stuck together.

The sugar leaves is what the calyx-to-leaf ratio is all about, it tells you how much of a hassle it is going to be to trim when harvested. Plants with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio have fewer sugar leaves, making the buds or colas easier to trim.

Sugar leaves aren’t all bad though; they can be very well used to make edibles or cannabutter, tinctures, extractions, topicals or even hashish. They can even be smoked, but because of the higher combustion temperature of the leaves the taste may be affected.

The top 5 strains with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio are:

Another indication of pollination can be the colour of her pistil hairs. When a female has been pollinated, the previously white hairs will soon shrivel and become darker.

How To Tell If Your Female Cannabis Plant Has Been Pollinated

Pollination of your female cannabis plants will make them produce seeds and spend less energy on producing quality buds. But when you recognise the signs of pollination early, you can avoid putting time and resources into a poor harvest.

There is a good reason why most growers keep male plants away from their ladies: Pollination from males causes the females to develop seeds. As a result, females focus their energy on seed production, rather than on growing you some fine-quality bud. This seedy and unfortunate final product can be avoided by implementing a few basic techniques.

Obviously, no one wants to smoke seedy weed. When you grow cannabis and learn how to identify male plants and signs of pollination, you can remove these plants to save your remaining females. Likewise, recognising a pollinated female early allows you to start again before it’s too late, rather than finishing a grow that will only result in a poor-quality harvest.

HOW TO TELL THAT A FEMALE PLANT HAS BEEN POLLINATED

Among the early signs that your female has been pollinated is that her bracts become larger. Bracts are small, leaf-like structures that protect the female’s reproductive parts. These are the sites from which the flowering buds appear. Do not confuse the bracts with calyxes.

A good test to see whether the bracts have swollen is to take a pair of tweezers, grab one bract, and open it up. If there is a seed inside, you have a pollinated plant.

Another indication of pollination can be the colour of her pistil hairs. When a female has been pollinated, the previously white hairs will soon shrivel and become darker.

HOW TO AVOID POLLINATION OF YOUR FEMALE PLANTS

Pollination requires the presence of males or intersex (hermaphrodite) plants, which are females that will also produce pollen. The first thing you want to do to keep the risk of pollination low is to remove as many males or “hermies” as as you can. Especially during the first three weeks of flowering, it’s important to frequently check for possible male specimens in your garden.

The typical cannabis grower normally doesn’t have a reason to keep males, and will want to get rid of them as soon as they are spotted. Cannabis breeders, on the other hand, may want to keep males along with their crop of female plants. In such cases, the breeder will normally separate the sexes to avoid any accidental pollination. They may grow females in one tent and males in another. When grown outdoors, such as in a garden, the males are often kept in the most remote corner of their growing area, as far from the females as possible. Even then, because of the wind carrying around the pollen, there is always some risk of accidental pollination.

HOW TO SPOT MALE CANNABIS PLANTS

To determine the sex of your cannabis plants, you will have to wait until the pre-flowering stage when plants begin to put their energy into reproduction. Female cannabis plants show their gender signs later than males. At the location where they will soon grow their buds (the nodes between the stalk and the stem), females will show wispy white hairs.

Male plants won’t show hairs at these nodes, but will develop little sacs of pollen. These pollen sacs will look like little balls. These balls can appear on their own or in clusters, depending how far into the pre-flowering stage the plant is. At some later stage of growth, the pollen sacs will burst open, spilling the pollen and possibly pollinating your females.

WHAT TO DO WHEN YOUR FEMALES GET POLLINATED?

Spotting male cannabis plants and pollinated females early can save you from investing further time and effort into an entire growing season that will be for naught. Most of the time, the best course of action is to get rid of the males along with your pollinated ladies and just start a new grow.

HOW TO AVOID THE ISSUE OF POLLINATION

There is, of course, a way to avoid the issue of pollination altogether for the home grower. As a result of innovation in the modern cannabis industry, feminized seeds are now available in a wide variety of new and legendary strains. Unlike with regular seeds, you won’t need to even worry about identifying or separating males during your grow. As long as your feminized seeds are sourced from a reputable retailer, all seeds will grow into plants with smokable bud. With this knowledge, it is up to you to decide what kind of seeds will suit your growing parameters and personal goals as a cultivator.

The pistils are also the best tool a grower to spot the difference between the male and the female plants. It is important to recognize the male plants