Understanding the weed anatomy makes it very easy to distinguish the strains and even to choose which one is better for you. Knowing what the tiny hairs on your weed are, gets you a step further to understanding each strain and even weed quality – making it easy to pick what you want – and even sniff out people trying to scam you.
Whilst the weed plant features several parts, the pistil is the most crucial part of the plant. The pistil is the sex organ of a female weed plant. Within the pistil is where you find smaller parts such as the stigma, style, and ovary.
Before we get into detail about the smaller parts in the pistil, it is worth knowing some of the other key parts of a weed plant. These include the cola, bract, calyx, trichomes, fan leaves, and nodes. The cola is simply the largest flower bud that develops at the top of the main stem. The bract on the other end are leaves that feature a teardrop shape with resin glands covering them.
The bract normally features an intense green color and houses the calyx – the calyx is impossible to see with the naked eye. A calyx is a bud with a host of sugary leaves. This bud is normally covered by the trichomes. The trichomes are tiny round bulbs that boast the CBD and THC content of the weed plant. They also contain other cannabinoids known as terpenes, the aromatic weed oils.
Fan leaves are the larger weed leaves that form part of the harvest. They are normally used to create edibles. The nodes are the part which weed grows on and which the fan leaves protrude from. Whilst a female weed plant contains the pistil – with the stigma – as well as the bract, calyx, and cola. The male plant simply has its leaves and pollen.
Now, the small red tiny hairs you see on the weed plant is what is known as the stigma. The stigmas are the key drivers of reproduction in the plant.
However, in this case, they also play a role in determining whether or not the weed is of good quality. The hairs AKA stigmas function by collecting pollen from male weed plants. Once the pollen is collected through contact, pollination occurs. Initially, the hairs are normally white in color.
Once pollinated, the pistil grows a seed to complete the plant cycle. Pollination is a natural reproductive stage of the plant’s life. However, you don’t want it to happen if you are growing weed to use. This is because, after pollination, the plant loses its cycle – focusing on seed growth rather than growing resinous flowers.
The stigmas and pistils can most importantly be used to identify the gender during growth. Additionally, the hairs play a significant role in determining whether or not your weed is ready for harvest. This allows you to separate the male plants from the female ones – to prevent pollination. Younger male weed plants develop small preflowers before female ones.
In about 3 to 6 weeks after germination, that when you will be able to tell whether or not the plant is female. At this time, white hair will begin to grow from several nodes in the stipule area of the stem. For mature weed plants, the stigmas allow you to decide whether or not the plant is ready for harvest. When your weed plant begins to flower, you will notice white hairs growing out of the plant.
At first, the hair will be white. However, over time, about a month or so, you will start to see the stigmas change to a yellowish color. In other strains, you may even notice a different color – amber, red, or dark brown.
To start harvesting, make sure that at least 50% of the stigma has changed its color – to give you enough time to properly harvest the plant. Growers with more experience normally wait for the color change to dissipate to up to 70% of the plant. You can even use a loupe or magnifying glass to observe the stigma area better. If the color change is in effect by at least three-quarters of the stigma, it is most definitely ready for harvest.
In addition to the strain, how you care for the weed plant will determine its quality and potency. It goes without saying that harvesting your weed plant the improper way can affect its potency. If you take too long to harvest your weed, the stigmas will darken into a more brownish finish and it will dry out. Sure, you will still get high from smoking this weed. However, it will lose its overall potency, taste, and smell.
Its THC levels will significantly drop as well. After all, the majority of THC and CBD levels in the weed is found in its pistils and calyx. This is the part that is harvested, dried, cured, and used – thus, if it is not properly cared for, you obviously will not enjoy it when used. On the other end, pollinated female weed plants come with seeds that are quite difficult to remove – thus, affecting their overall quality.
However, you must keep in mind that the overall growth and harvest period may vary according to the strain. Yet, the variations are not as steep. Generally, the younger stigmas remain white for 4-5 weeks before the plant enters the flowering stage. As the plant enters the flowering stage, you will begin to notice the gradual color change on the stigmas. You should wait for at least the 7th to 10th week to consider harvesting – by then, you will observe advanced color changes of up to 75% of the stigma hairs.
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