When you think about a cannabis plant you usually only focus on the big bright buds ready to be smoked, but there is so much more to the cannabis plant that deserves our attention. So many different parts of the cannabis plant works tirelessly to create the desired end product. Each part of the plant plays a cohesive role in the success of budding strong robust buds, ensuring the proper affects, flavors, aromas and ascetics are all in place before harvesting. Here we’ll take a look at the complete anatomy of a marijuana plant and how the buds we so desire start from a budding seed and transform into a ecosystem of life and nurture.
Male and Female Plants
Marijuana plants are no different then all the mammals out there in the world, they can either be male or female, but unlike the animal kingdom where male and female are equal, cannabis plants are a different story. When it comes to the world of botanical plants the male plants usually offer substantially less then the female plants, so maybe it is similar to the animal kingdom… That being said, male plants do have an important role to play, without them the female plants would not be able to become pollinated and would be forever lonely, this makes male plants an important factor in the breeding process of plants, specifically marijuana plants. When marijuana plants are chosen for breeding, making sure you choose a strong male plant is imperative, the genes within that male plant will be transferred over to the newly bred plants and make up half of the new plants DNA, so choosing the right male plant will make sure their kids have strong genes going forward and is a pivotal step in the marijuana plant stages. When a strong male plant is chosen for crossbreeding their attributes will follow into the breeding cycle, offering things such as strong overall health, mold and pest resistance and a strong growth rate. Male plants may not influence the most important part of the cannabis plant like the potency and flavor of the buds, however they are a great option for auto-flowering strains, influencing growth patterns which allows the flowers to preserve such potency and flavor from the mothers buds.
The female plants are where the money is made so to speak, female plants are what produce the mightily important live resin covered flowers that become trimmed and crafted into vibrant buds. The female plants are pollinated by the male plants which begins the seed production, with the smokable buds coming from the seedless female plants known as sinsemilla.
This is where the cultivation of cannabis gets it life, once that seed is planted into soil the cannabis plant anatomy begins, like the big bang for cannabis plants! Health seeds look well rounded with a pointed end and a flat end and are rigid and have a tough outter case to protect the inner embryo. Seeds vary in size depending on their genetics, some can be extremely small to sight and weight while others appear larger and heavier. Within the seed there is an embryo of the plant, which is what gives the plant its life and remains still until the process of growing begins to take place such as proper watering and temperature settings. Within the seed there are other important elements of the plant, you have the root also known as the radicle and the cotyledons which are the fat round leaves containing the food reserves for the seed and its early development. Last but not least is the apical tip which is located between the seeds two cotyledons, this tip is what you first see when the plant begins to grow and continues to grow once the plant become germinated. The beginning stages of grown a seed properly are vital to the cannabis plant anatomy and set the tone for the growth of the rest of the marijuana plant stages.
Like any plant in the world the cannabis plant has a system of roots that are vital to it thriving and surviving and are important to the cannabis growth stages. When cannabis seeds becomes germinated the tap root is the first root to emerge from the seed, the tap root instantly begins to grow in a downward motion looking for key aspects of sustaining life such as moisture and nutrition, while also colonizing the substrate. When looking at the complete root system of the cannabis plant it provides various purposes to allow the plant to prosper and contribute to the marijuana anatomy. First the roots are used to help anchor the plant within the substrate, also known as the area where the plant lives, grows and obtains its nourishment. Second the roots are the main source in making sure the plant obtains the right amount of water and nutrients, the roots are always in search of water and moisture, not stopping until it is found. When the roots find too much water it has no purpose to grow so neither will the plant. Third the roots act as a storage unit for things like sugars and starches which are produced by photosynthesis, aka the light.
The cannabis plant contains three main roots that contribute massively to the health and well being of the plant and the cannabis growth stages, each one of these roots offers the plant a variety of different aspects that help turn the plant into a budding beauty. First is the tap root which is the main root within the root system, this root grows underneath the soil which moves vertically downwards creating branches as it grows and expands. When these branches begin to grow there is a second type of root known as the fibrous roots, which branches off from the tap root, it also begins to grow a network of roots underneath the soil which is a similar size to the upper part of the plant. Third is the adventitious roots, known for being thick, this root is what makes it possible for the grower to reproduce plants by cutting portions of it off and cloning them. The root system of a cannabis plant requires a fine balance of moisture and air to grow properly and be healthy, if applied correctly the roots should look thick, bright white roots with a solid amount of hairs when you transplant.
When the seed begins to sprout the tap root system is the first system to begin to grow which then begins to grow the fibrous root system, it’s important to know that cloned plants do not posses a tap root system. Instead they begin with the adventitious root which develops the fibrous root system.
The root crown is the part of that plant where the roots and stems join together, this important are of the plant in the marijuana plant stages is the divide between upward and downward growth. The root crown plays a an important roll in the area where the vascular system switches from roots to stem and where the majority of cell division takes place within the plant.
Stems and Nodes
The stem is literally the backbone of the cannabis plant and the cannabis plant anatomy, it is what keeps the plant upright and supports it’s weight throughout its transformation. Inside the stem is a vascular system which carries moisture and nutrients between the roots and the leaves, almost like a highway full of delivery trucks. The moisture and nutrients are carried by the xylem cells where the sugar and starches which are produced by light are transported by the phloem cells. On the stem there is a division of nodes, this is where the side branches begin to grow. During this process seedlings will grow positive sets of nodes and leaves, especially during the beginning stages of the growth, as the plant matures the nodes will grow alternately indicating the plant is ready to flower. Nodes are the primary area where the flowers begin to sprout, which makes it the perfect area to determine if the plant is male or female if grown from a regular seed. Nodes also contain the most hormones and is where the most growth happens on the plant. When cutting for a clone growers always make sure there is at least one node for those reasons.
The cannabis leaf is a symbolic image synonymous with cannabis all around the world. Laves on a cannabis plant can contain anywhere up to 3-13 veined serrated leaflets. Leaves look different for each type of strain being grown, Indica leaves have wide and shorter leaflets and are a darker green, but less leaves overall. Sativas have longer leaves and are typically a lighter shade of green. The function of leaves it to capture sunlight and help cool down the plant, the darker upper side of the leaf helps produce energy by capturing sunlight while the other side helps regular temperature through its pores which consume CO2 required for absorbing photosynthesis and releasing water and oxygen. The stomata which regulates temperatures opens and closes during the day and night to keep a balance of moisture, helping regulate when most needed during the day and contributing to the marijuana plant anatomy.
As we touched on earlier in the article the cannabis plant is a dioecious, which means the male and female versions of the plant have different reproductive organs and play different roles in the marijuana anatomy. Male plants aren’t commonly grown unless you are breeding plants, female plants however are what produce the desired flower buds. When identifying between a male and female flower, the male flower resembles green looking balls on sticks, with five pedals. They are long in size and once they release their pollen they soon die. Female flowers however contain tight clusters of what’s known as bracts, which looks like a small teardrop shaped petal. These petals contain ovaries and pistil which is what catches the pollen from the male plants, once this happens the pollen is transported through the pollen tube to the ovary which then forms the seed, the seeds become mature usually 4-6 weeks after this process takes place. These seeds are then used to start the cannabis growth stages which ultimately produce the end produce of cannabis buds.
Last but certainly not least are the trichomes, cannabis plants produce a high level of trichomes which is believed to help protect the plant and flowers from things such as UV light, insects, animals and hot temperatures. There are two types of trichomes found on the cannabis plant, the glandular and non glandular trichomes. Non glandular trichomes contain no trichome head or gland and are grown on stems, leaves and petioles. Glandular trichomes are more complex and are broken down into three main types, bulbous which is the smallest and has the least amount, capitate-sessile which are larger and grow lower and close to the leaf surface and lastly the capitate-stalked which is the largest of the glandular terpenes and have the highest concentration on the cannabis flower and produce the strongest cannabinoid content. During the marijuana plant anatomy the trichomes begin once the plant starts its bloom phase, when the flowers start to produce the trichomes move from the outer surface and transport things called vacuoles and plastides from within their stalk directly into the gland head. The cells then in the gland head metabolize and create percurors which then eventually transform in cannabinoids. When it comes to how much trichomes a cannabis plant produces, you have to factor in both genetics and environmental factors. Things such as UV light can have a strong influence on the cannabinoid and terpene synthesis within the tirchome head.
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