Lets talk plant sex. Cannabis plants have female, male, and hermaphroditic genetics. Simply put, we want the ladies!
Males & hermaphrodites produce pollen, and females produce flowers. Because of this, we can take advantage of a true female cannabis’ large seedless buds by removing any pollen exposure. This is done by identifying females, and removing any males or hermaphrodite plants before any pollen sacs “pop” and spray pollen everywhere.
If a female plant is pollinated by a male, she will stop producing the desired resinous bud we want, and put all her energy into making seeds. Seedy weed is not good weed!
So… how do you tell the difference?
Photoperiod cannabis needs a lower light schedule to show its sex, so it is often seen in the first few weeks when plants start to flower under 12:12 light conditions. Males tend to mature faster & taller than females, and both show their sex where the leaves and branches extend from the stalk. Males produce pollen sac’s (that look like balls) that will spray pollen, and females produce a stigma that matures into hairy resinous bud to catch that pollen. Hermaphrodites simply do both. I inspect my ladies daily, and anything with a pollen sac gets immediately removed to prevent any pollen flying. I do this by spraying the plant with water to prevent any pollen from flying, then put a garbage bag over it, and then move it somewhere away from my grow to dispose of!
Another type of hermaphrodite is a plant that produces anthers, commonly referred to as “bananas” or “nanners” coming from the bright yellow appearance of the stamen.
This type of hermaphrodism is often seen once female buds have started to form on a plant, often called “selfing’ and if not caused by bad genetics – it’s often caused by stress like a light leak during the dark period, aggressive trimming, or environmental swings outside of the plants preference. Watch plants closely after exposure to stressors! True hermaphrodites produce male pollen sacs that need to rupture, where as a selfing plants produce anthers within the bud, and when exposed these pollen-producing stamen will pollinate buds around it! Remove these plants from your grow before you make seedy sub-quality weed.
Lets talk pollen and seeds. Some will let true males grow just to collect pollen for breeding, others will induce anthers in a known true female to collect feminised pollen. Never collect pollen from a genetic hermaphrodite cannabis plant as the hermaphrodite trait is dominant and will be passed on! When pollen from a true male is used to pollinate a true female, the seeds produced will be mixed gender. To make feminised seeds, pollen is collected from an induced true female using fancy techniques like silver, and as this pollen lacks the male chromosome, when used to pollinate a true female the seeds produced will be feminised seeds!
Do remember that pollen is intended to easily fly in the wind – MANAGE YOUR POLLEN!!! Keep all pollen far far far away from your grow! Those growing nearby will also thank you!!!