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Anatomy and morphology of the cannabis plant

Non-pollinated female cannabis plants make better weed. Can you tell a male from female plant?

Anatomy of the Cannabis Plant

Do the words node, calyx, petiole, pistil, sepal and stamens ring a bell? Maybe it takes you back to middle school days of memorizing biology homework you never thought you’d use again. Well, here we are to wake up your old science vocabulary and walk you through the anatomy of the cannabis plant.


Plants have various categorizations for their parts, regarding both their anatomy and morphology, and cannabis is no different. The main anatomical considerations of plants concern the flower, fruit or seed, stem, root and wood. Here’s a refresher of the details which relate to cannabis:


Flower anatomy

Calyx: the casing for buds before they bloom. This includes the sepals.

Corolla: the term used to refer to the petals as a group.

Androecium: the stamens of a flower (which produce the pollen).

Gynoecium: the parts of the flower that produce ovaries. This includes the pistils and carpels.


Leaf anatomy

Leaf anatomy focuses on a much smaller slice of the plant and sounds more like human anatomy with cuticles, epidermis and veins. Leaves serve primarily to move water and sugar through the plant.


Stem anatomy

Stems are composed of nodes and internodes. From nodes grow leaves or buds.


Why anatomy matters

The cannabis plant can be male or female, and in some instances hermaphrodites. Even though female plants are usually shorter and have more branches, positive sex identification can be made by looking at the flowers. Female flowers are usually batched together along the main stem and among leaves. Male flowers spread out all along the stems.   On a male plant you will see little balls of pollen sacks at the point where the stems branch off. On female plants you will see two thin, furry, white hairs coming out of the balls. Female, non-pollinated plants, called sinsemilia because they do not reproduce and bear seeds, are known to produce the best product because of the variance in THC. Male plants are cultivated for their pollen or to breed more plants. Great care is made to keep male and hermaphrodite plants from female plants to avoid unintentional pollination.