Here on Mother’s Day - a day of appreciation and flowers - we wanted to look at and think about our cannabis moms. They deserve the same appreciation and gratitude we give our biological moms but for different reasons.
Cannabis is dioecious, meaning it has both sexes, and honestly both males and females are important, but in different contexts. As the dynamic goes for other species, the male and female parts are designed to reproduce with one another, furthering the continuation of the species through robust genetics.
In the beginning all the plants look the same. Differentiating between male and female plants is known as sexing. Like most species, the sex organs are different, and after about six weeks from seed, once they’re developed, we can choose the plants we want for the reasons we want.
Cannabis plants display their sex In the nodes of the stems, at the confluence of leaf petiole (branch) and stem. The female plant appears like a dew drop, with a round bulbous bottom flowing into a fine tip that has white hairs (stigmas) protruding from the top. The males show sex in the same spot. Their show is similar early on, but very different as they mature.
"The old days of bag weed with stems and seeds are long gone, and that's due in part to selecting females and removing males so they can produce flowers unadulterated by seeds."
So why are female cannabis plants so important? Probably the biggest factor is that when we select females, our end result will be large, dense, seedless, terpene-packed nuggets. The old days of bag weed with stems and seeds are long gone, and that's due in part to selecting females and removing males so they can produce flowers unadulterated by seeds.
Unpollinated females will produce flowers and cannabinoids til we chop them. If however, they get pollinated, the plants rhythm changes, cannabinoid profiles change, flowers stop expanding and the overall plant energy focuses on seed production. We cull the males and keep the females unpollinated so they don't divert their energy towards seed production, and focus more energy on the effects those elevated cannabinoid profiles exude through their sticky flowers.
Our female cannabis plants are the nursery of the operation. Moms birth kids, and so do our female mother plants. By taking cuttings from the mother plants, we get genetically identical clones. By knowing the genetic potential of the mother, we can guarantee the end product and its profile. This allows us to pick and choose those cultivars that resonate with us best.
In some cases, stress or poor breeding will result in plants that exhibit both male and female flowers. These are known as hermaphrodites, and should be removed immediately, as they are not worth any effort. They have the potential to ruin crops through pollination and seeding. Any seeds coming from them will more than likely harbor the same poor genetic traits that cause the “herm” issue in the first place.
So, in honor of Mothers Day, let’s send that same gratitude and affection we have for our biological moms to our female cannabis plants, because they sure are a source of love!