Other stressors that may incite female cannabis plants to become hermaphroditic include disruptions to the photoperiod, dramatic shifts in temperature, disease or pest infestations, the use of toxic pesticides, and physical damage from vigorous pruning.
According to Perlowin, stress is the fundamental cause of hermaphroditic plants, or ‘hermies.’ “Some examples of stressors would be not enough water, too much water, not enough nutrients, or too much heat. It can happen at any time in the life cycle of a plant from a new plant to a very mature one,” explains Perlowin. The female plant will develop male flowers in response to stress, to ensure seeds are produced before the environmental trigger can kill the plant.
Herming can also have a genetic component, with some growers viewing plants that are inclined to herm as genetically inferior.
“We found that it is better to remove the entire plant than cutting off the problematic branches,” explains Perlowin. “We do this by using a large plastic bag to cover the entire plant. Without shaking the plant, we move the bag down to the very bottom of the plant, seal it, cut the plant down at dirt level, then take it off the property.”
A hermaphroditic plant, by definition, contains both female and male sex organs. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Unlike other plants that can grow both male and female flowers on a single plant, cannabis is what’s called a dioecious plant, which means the females and the males grow separately.
Eliminate those male plants that flower too early, and rid yourself of those that autoflower. Plants that flower at unexpected times may have a higher chance of becoming intersex.
MALE CANNABIS PLANTS PRODUCE STRONG FIBRES
Male plants also make good ingredients in the kitchen. Decarboxylate your plant material and use it to infuse moderate levels of cannabinoids into drinks, cakes, and savoury dishes by whipping up a batch of cannabutter.
Sure. But male plants don’t contain many cannabinoids or terpenes—the main constituents that make smoking weed worthwhile. Female cannabis flowers contain the highest concentration of these compounds. Male cannabis plants do produce some of the small glands that manufacture these chemicals (trichomes), but their quantity pales in comparison to the amount found on female plants.
When you start breeding your own top-shelf bud, the male will contribute 50% of the genetic material. It just makes sense that you’d want to select the best male that you have as the donor.
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants come in two different forms: true hermaphrodites and “bananas”.
When you grow cannabis plants, they will either turn out as females, males, or hermaphrodites, meaning a hybrid of the two sexes. Knowing the difference between the three is vital to maintaining a strong growing operation, whether you’re planning on crossbreeding strains, maximising the yield of your female plants, or studying each of the types.
From psychoactive cannabinoids to aromatic terpenes, cannabis features many traits that make it unique within the plant kingdom. However, the uniqueness of the plant doesn’t stop at the phytochemicals it produces.
TYPES OF HERMAPHRODITE CANNABIS PLANTS
Growers identify plant sex by identifying pre-flowers, which are small structures that form at the nodes during late vegetation.
It should also be noted that male pollen sacs and female flowers develop at the same point on the plant. Both structures emerge from nodes, the point at which branches meet the main stem. So, when you see buds starting to form on some plants, start looking for pollen sacs too.
Male and female plants look identical during the seedling and vegetative phases. But, as they begin to transition into the flowering phase, plants finally begin to reveal their sex. During this time, females produce resinous buds loaded with cannabinoids, and males form sacs filled with pollen.
If you want to try breeding, you’re going to need regular cannabis seeds, and Royal Queen Seeds offers a premium range. In contrast to feminized seeds that produce only female specimens, regular seeds offer a 50% chance of the plant being male or female.