After liberating nutrients from the substrate, the mycelium uptakes and shuttles them around to plants. Because cannabis roots aren’t capable of this impressive function themselves, they have to “bargain” with the mycelium to access these nutrients. Luckily, plants produce sugars during photosynthesis, and transport many of these molecules down into the roots. Here, they swap these energy-rich exudates for the nutrients they need to fulfil important physiological functions.
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.
Without a doubt, cannabis claims the title as one of the most beautiful plants on Earth—from its glittering trichomes and signature leaves to its complex root system. Many growers frequent their grow rooms just to stand in awe at what grows before them.
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.
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.
This fusion between plant and fungi occurs in the rhizosphere, or root zone. The mycelium forms a sheath-like structure around the root tip that surrounds plant cells in the root cortex. Threads of hyphae—individual strands of mycelium—extend out into the soil where they break down organic matter and even connect one plant to another, forming a biological internet.
The consumption part is why you do not want your female plants to be pollinated; they would start to form seeds, which are a real hassle to remove and leave a horrible taste and crackling sound when smoked. Also most of the female plants energy will be diverted into making the seeds, not swelling up the buds and forming cannabinoids.
The calyx is the first part of the flower that is formed when a young plant enters its flowering stage, if it is indeed a plant that is capable of flowering of course. In a perfect spiraling Fibonacci sequence the plant quickly and in the most efficient way forms a protective platform comprising of small leaves, which are called the sepals. This protective platform for the flower in its entirity is called the calyx.
In fact most of the cannabinoids are formed in the pistils and the calyxes of the cannabis plant. This is the flower part of the plant, that will eventually be harvested, dried and cured and ultimately will be ready for consumption.
WHAT DOES THE CALYX TELL AN EXPERIENCED GROWER
Sugar leaves aren’t all bad though; they can be very well used to make edibles or cannabutter, tinctures, extractions, topicals or even hashish. They can even be smoked, but because of the higher combustion temperature of the leaves the taste may be affected.
The pistils are where you see the long hairs coming from; these hairs are called stigmas. The stigmas will start out white when the plant is still in its early flowering stage, but will turn amber or yellow, and ultimately brown, as the plant progresses through its flowering stage. The trichomes are the resin glands where the cannabinoids are formed, including the psychoactive and more familiar THC.
If you intentionally aim to make your own strain of cannabis by crossing two breeds or strains, watch the calyxes of your developing plants to identify the males and females you want to use for your experiment.
When harvesting your cannabis plants, you will have to trim off the leaves to expose the buds, which then in turn can be properly dried and cured.