Although the flowers get most of the attention—and rightly so—every part of this complex species has a critical and interesting function. As a cultivator, it helps to familiarise yourself with the anatomy of the cannabis plant. In doing so, you’ll develop an eye for what your plant requires, what it needs less of, and when to harvest.
Mycorrhizae ultimately act as an extension of the root system. Not only do they break down organic matter to release nutrients, but they also transport these important molecules from areas plants could otherwise not reach. Ultimately, mycorrhizal fungi play a fundamental role in plant nutrition and soil biology and chemistry.
Although not genetically part of the cannabis plant, mycorrhizae form a mutually beneficial relationship with cannabis roots that helps both species survive and thrive. These fungi appear all throughout nature and form a fascinating symbiotic relationship with up to 90% of plant species.
Explore our in-depth guide below to see the cannabis plant like never before.
Mycorrhizal fungi participate in a give-and-take relationship with cannabis plants. These species form networks of thin, hair-like filaments in the soil—known as mycelium—and produce enzymes to break down organic matter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.