The Secret Parts of Cannabis You Didn't Know About

Most people recognise the big fan leaf of the cannabis plant, but when you take a closer look, you’ll notice there are many complex formations that hold unique functions. We prepared this brief guide so you can familiarize yourself with the different cannabis parts.

Female vs. Male

Cannabis plants can either be male, female, or hermaphrodites. Gender matters a lot to the grower because only females will produce buds. They produce the large resin-secreting flowers with buds rich in cannabinoids. When the flower is grown, they are dried and trimmed.

The male plants are used for seed production and their DNA is essential in determining the subsequent offspring. Good quality males are used for breeding purposes and provide pollen to female plants. They are usually chosen based on their ability to resist mold, growth rate, and overall health. These traits are passed down but the flavor and potency profile is retained from the female plant.

Hermaphrodites produce both male and female flowers. Whilst this occurs naturally, it is an undesired trait for consumption. Hermaphrodites can produce a plant full of seeds which reduces the quantity and quality of the final product.

Nowadays it is easier to grow female plants thanks to auto-flowering and feminized seeds, as well as genetically identical clippings which produce clones of the original plant.

Cannabis parts

There are several cannabis parts which are not much different from any other flowering species. Cannabis grows on tall stalks ringed with huge fan leaves extending out from areas called nodes. It is from these flowers where many intricate formations occur. Let’s take a look at them.


It refers to the section where the female flowers bloom. The cola on the top of the plant is called the main cola. The number and size of colas are determined by a variety of growing techniques – topping, low-stress training and screen of green.


Calyx is the bud itself. It consists of small sugar leaves, nodules, and pistils. Calyxes come in different sizes, colors and shapes depending on the strain. Typically, the calyx is covered by trichomes. This is a key part of the flower concerning cannabis consumption, since most of the cannabinoids are located here.


The red/orange/purple hairs on the bud are known as pistils. Their primary function is to collect pollen from male plants. While the plant grows, they change color from white to yellow, orange, red, purple or brown. The color depends on the strain you grow and the stage of maturity of the plant. They’re important for reproduction, but there is little to no effect on potency and taste.


The original function of trichomes were for protection against predators and the elements. Even though they are so tiny, you can hardly miss the white sugary coat on the bud. The resin is secreted through these translucent glands on the leaves, stems, and calyxes. They ooze aromatic fluids called terpenes and cannabinoids.


They hold the whole plant and distribute the nutrition. Cannabis stems are useful for fiber production which can be further used for canvas, construction material, and paper.

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