Posted on

how to find seeds and stems in weed

Anatomy of the Cannabis plant

When it comes to cannabis, the part of the plant that gets all the attention is naturally the bit we’re all growing for: the flowers. But while it’s easy to be enamoured with the beautiful frosty flowers we shouldn’t overlook the rest, because behind the bud there’s a whole plant, with all its component parts, each playing an essential role in bringing us our precious harvest.

Here at Alchimiaweb we strongly believe that the more we know about our favourite plants, the more success we’ll have cultivating them, and the happier we’ll be with the results! For these reasons here we’re going to take a closer look at the cannabis plant and identify all the different elements of its anatomy to help you get to know this wonderful plant a little bit better.

1, male flower, enlarged detail; 2, pollen sac; 3, pollen sac; 4, pollen grain; 5, female flower with bract; 5, female flower, bract removed; 6, female seed cluster, longitudinal section; 7, seed with bract; 8, seed without bract; 9, seed without bract; 10, seed cross section; 11, seed longitudinal section; 12, seed without hull (Franz Eugen Köhler 1887)

The Cannabis seed

For most of us, our introduction to cultivation comes when we buy or are gifted some cannabis seeds for the first time, so let’s set out on our examination of cannabis anatomy starting with the seed.

A healthy, mature cannabis seed will be well-rounded in shape with one pointed end and one flat end. They have a tough outer casing that is rigid to the touch, preventing the seed from being easily crushed. A seam separates the two halves of the shell (also known as the hull or pericarp) and is where the seed opens during germination.

Depending on their genetics, seeds can vary greatly in size, from really tiny (800 seeds per gram) to absolutely massive (15 seeds per gram). In mature seeds the outer shell should be covered with attractive dark markings known as “tiger stripes” which, like snowflakes, are unique to each seed and are in reality a thin layer of cells coating the seed and can be rubbed off easily, revealing the true tan/beige colour of the seed beneath.

Detailed view of a cannabis seed

Inside the seed we will find the embryo of the plant, everything needed to start a new life, dormant until the right conditions of moisture and warmth are met. We have the root, or radicle as it’s known while still in the seed, the cotyledons, those first, fat, rounded embryonic leaves containing the seed’s food reserves for early development. Cannabis is a “dicot” plant, meaning it has two cotyledons. Situated in between the cotyledons, surrounded by the first two true leaves is the apical tip, the point from which the plant will continue growing once germinated.

Roots

When we germinate a cannabis seed, the first thing that emerges from the opened seed will be the tap root which will begin to grow downwards, seeking out moisture and nutrition and colonising the substrate. The root system has three main purposes, not only does it anchor the plant in the substrate, it provides it with water and the nutrients, and it also acts as storage for sugars and starches produced by photosynthesis. It’s hard to overstate the importance of the roots in cannabis cultivation, they really are the foundation upon which everything else is built, without healthy roots we won’t harvest beautiful flowers!

Roots themselves can be classified into three types. Firstly the tap root, which is the principal component of the root system, the subterranean counterpart to the plant’s main stem, pushing vertically downwards and shooting off branches as it grows. These branches are the second type, the fibrous roots, which branch off from the tap root, extending outwards to form an underground network approximately the same size as the aerial part of the plant. A third type of roots are known as adventitious roots, these are the thick roots that sometimes sprout from the stem just above ground. These are the roots that make it possible to reproduce plants by taking cuttings and cloning them.

Adventitious root growing from the stem of a clone

Cannabis plants grown from seed will start life with a tap root system that develops into a fibrous root system, while clones don’t have a tap root, starting instead with adventitious roots before developing a fibrous root system. In all cases, a root system needs an adequate balance of moisture and air to be healthy and if care and conditions are right we will be able to see thick, bright white roots with plenty of fine hairs when we transplant.

The root crown

The part of the plant where the roots and stem join is called the root crown, or sometimes collar, or neck. This is a vital part of the plant, the dividing line between upward and downward growth, where the vascular system switches from roots to stem, and one of the places in the plant where most cell division takes place.

The root crown is naturally situated very close to the surface, where aeration is at its most, however some growers will transplant with the crown buried well below the surface, which encourages adventitious roots to sprout from the buried section of stem. It’s good way to deal with those leggy seedlings that stretched to get to the light and ended up too tall.

Stem and nodes

The stem of the cannabis plant is the part responsible for keeping the plant upright and for supporting the weight of the plant. It contains the vascular system which works to carry moisture and nutrients from the roots to the leaves via xylem cells, and to transport the sugars and starches produced via photosynthesis around the plant for use or storage via the phloem cells. Phloem is otherwise known as bast, the part of the cannabis or hemp plant that is traditionally harvested for fibre to make rope, canvas etc.

See also  vine weed seed pods

Cross section of stem showing a node

The stem, which can sometimes be hollow, is divided by nodes where the lateral branches begin, with the space between them being known as the internode. Seedlings will begin by growing opposite pairs of nodes and leaves but as time passes the nodes will start to grow alternately, sign the plant is mature and ready to flower.

Taller, stretchier Sativa plants will have a larger internode spacing than squat, compact Indica varieties, although environmental factors can also influence internode space. The nodes are where the first flowers appear (pre-flowers), so it’s the first place growers look when trying to determine the sex of plants grown from regular seeds. The small, narrow spear-like leaf growing at each node is called the stipule, and shouldn’t be confused with pre-flowers.

Nodes are one of the parts of the cannabis plant where most growth happens and most hormones are produced, for this reason we always cut clones with at least one node to be planted below ground in the substrate, so it can produce auxins (rooting hormones) to begin root development in the undifferentiated meristem cells of the node.

Leaves and petioles

Cannabis leaves are palmately compound (shaped like the open hand, with multiple parts), with anything from 3 to 13 veined, serrated leaflets or fingers. Indica varieties will generally have wider and shorter leaflets of a lush dark green colour, but fewer in number, while Sativas will have longer, narrower leaflets and can be of a lighter green shade. Of course, cannabis is a hugely diverse genus and there are exceptions to this rule, most notably the Ducksfoot variety, with its webbed leaves. Autoflowering varieties will tend to have smaller leaves, with the shape depending on the individual genetics, but as a general rule leaning more to the Indica side.

Leaf and structure comparison of the different cannabis species

A cannabis plant will have large and small fan-type leaves, which we remove and dispose of at harvest time, and also sugar leaves, which are the small, resin-covered leaves that protrude from the bud. These will either be trimmed away and kept aside for resin extraction, or simply left on the bud and smoked with the flowers.

Leaves from two different hybrids

As a seedling grows, each set of leaves has an increasing, odd number of leaflets, so the first set of leaves above the cotyledons will almost always have a single leaflet, the second pair will have three, the third will have five and the fourth will have seven leaflets, and so on until the plant reaches the usual number as dictated by its genetics.

The leaflets join at the point known as the rachis, from where they attach to the stem or branch by a leaf-stem known as the petiole. Petioles can be of varying length depending on the variety and can naturally vary in colour from green to dark purple, although in normally green plants a purple petiole can often be a sign of a phosphorous deficiency.

The fan leaves function both as solar panels and air conditioning for the plants, with the darker green upper side of the leaf producing energy via photosynthesis and the underside regulating internal processes via stomata, tiny pores that absorb the CO2 needed for photosynthesis and at the same time release water and oxygen. The stomata will close at night to conserve moisture and during the day will respond to heat and humidity levels, opening and closing to constantly balance internal moisture levels with external environmental conditions and keep metabolic functions working.

Flowers

Cannabis is dioecious, meaning the male and female reproductive organs are on different plants. Unless we’re planning on doing some home breeding and making seeds, we won’t be growing any male plants to full maturity, but it’s important to be able to identify them, even if we’re growing exclusively from feminised seeds, just in case.

Female pre-flowers on the left, male flower cluster on the right

The male, staminate flowers effectively resemble green balls on sticks, composed of five petals which open to reveal five pollen-producing stamens. They grow in long, loose bud clusters from internodes on the branch and once pollen is released the male plants will soon die off. Male flowers contain low levels of cannabinoids and terpenes.

Female pistillate flowers are formed of tight clusters of bracts, the small, teardrop-shaped green petals that we growers refer to as calyxes. Each bract or calyx contains the ovary and the pistillate hair or stigma, which is what growers call the pistil and is the part of the flower that catches airborne pollen. Once pollen lands on the stigma, it is transported down the pollen tube to the ovary where fecundation takes place and the seed is formed, filling and swelling the bract as it grows. The thick, white pistil or hair will shrivel and turn a brown or red colour one it has served its purpose. The seeds are usually mature after a further 4-6 weeks time.

See also  tiger's milk seeds

Both cannabis flowers and leaves develop beautiful colours

After pollination, female plants will devote their energies towards seed production, at the expense of resin. This means that seeded buds will have lower levels of cannabinoids and terpenes, and is one of the main reasons we strive so hard to grow sinsemilla (seedless) flowers, quite apart from the awful taste of smoking a seed in a joint!

Trichomes

Trichomes clustered on a bud

Botanists are still unsure as to exactly why cannabis plants produce such a large quantity of trichomes, but most agree that they most likely have the function of protecting the flowers and developing seeds, whether from harsh UV light, insects, grazing animals or extremes of temperature.

Trichomes have two different basic types: Glandular and non-glandular, with the principal difference being that non-glandular trichomes grow without a trichome head or gland, having the appearance of small hairs and mainly developing on stems, leaves, petioles and to a lesser extent on the flowers themselves, while glandular trichomes are found mainly on the flowers and sugar leaves, and possess the resinous gland where the cannabinoids and terpenes are secreted.

Glandular trichomes under the microscope

Glandular trichomes are themselves divided into three main kinds, which are: bulbous, the smallest and least numerous; capitate-sessile, which are larger and grow low, close to the leaf surface; and finally capitate-stalked, which are the largest, most numerous trichomes, found in highest concentration on the flowers and those with the greatest cannabinoid content, appearing somewhat like a tall mushroom, with a long stem and a large, rounded head – the iconic image of a trichome.

As the flowers mature, the trichomes will change colour, starting out transparent, passing through a milky-white stage nearing maturity and going on to become amber coloured when fully mature. Different growers will harvest their flowers depending on personal taste and the effect they’re looking for, but on our blog you can read a useful guide to harvesting according to trichome ripeness, which will help you to bring your crop down at the optimum moment.

Hopefully after reading this you’re now a bit more familiar with the anatomy of the cannabis plant and will become a better grower as a result. Knowledge is power!

MythPuffers: What’s The Deal With Stems And Seeds?

We all know what it’s like to spend 60 bucks on a disappointing eighth of weed that’s way too stemm-y and chock full of seeds. While it’s not only a hassle to de-seed and de-stem the sub-par product, what you’re left with once your eighth is gone seems entirely useless — but somehow you convince yourself to save it all anyway.

It’s been posited by some potheads that seeds and stems contain no THC, taste like shit, and will make you sick or even infertile. More positive stoners, on the other hand, have faith in the byproducts’ heightening abilities and promote the smoking, drinking, and planting of stems and seeds. Obviously when it comes to drugs like marijuana, everyone reacts to these things differently, but that, my friends, is how legends are born. This week’s MythPuffers is seed-and-stem-centric — focusing on not one but three common myths and questions surrounding the two little things potheads dread most.

One of the more popular ways to rid of seeds and stems is to smoke them — un-ground in many cases. One myth that has spurred from the smoking of these stems and seeds is that they will negatively affect your fertility. What? That’s right — some people believe that smoking stems in particular will lessen a male’s sperm count and damage a woman’s ovaries.

While this may seem ridiculous at face value, according to BBC News, a study at Buffalo University has linked chronic marijuana smoking to a lower sperm count among males. Head researcher Dr. Lani Burkman claims that THC is “doing something to sperm” — something which makes the little guys swim too fast so that they end up getting tired before finishing the job. In terms of female fertility, however, results from a separate study are inconclusive.

While this may not be great news for all the pot head dudes out there, it turns out smoking stems and seeds doesn’t really matter because smoking weed in the first place is what affects sperm count. Therefore — since smoking stems tastes disgusting and your sperm is going to die anyway — why not consider something like stem tea?

Not only is stem tea easy to make but, also, if done correctly ,it’s a great way to get rid of saved stems. While some might believe that stem tea is a sham after learning last week that THC is not water soluble, there are several recipes available on the Internet (like this one) which suggest steeping your pot in something fatty, like milk, or for the hard-core tea drinkers, something alcoholic. Although stem tea will not produce a high as strong as one from smoking — leaves, not stems — there are traces of THC in the stalks and thus drinkers will experience mind alterations if the beverage is prepared correctly.

Now that your stems have been taken care of, what about your seeds? One of the most popular myths — or hopes rather — is that planting seeds found in dumpy weed will grow into beautiful marijuana plants.

It probably comes as no surprise that, yes, by planting seeds found in shake, it is possible to grow marijuana plants. While this seems like an attractive idea in theory, what many stoners don’t realize is the time and effort that goes into cultivating reefer. Especially if you’re living in New York, as a college student, there’s nowhere in the city a plant would have access to proper soil and enough sunlight to prosper — this, of course, is a lot for any smoker. Despite the fact that potheads aren’t of the most responsible breed, if your weed is shitty in the first place, why would you even want to reproduce it?

See also  lemon tag seeds

Of course, there are many other ways to deal with pesky stems and seeds that are possibly more affective and slightly more reasonable than stem tea and planting seeds. Green Dragon, for example, is a notorious weed, stem, and seed concoction that MythPuffers will be investigating in the coming weeks — so stay tuned.

Pictures of Marijuana for Parents

John C. Umhau, MD, MPH, CPE is board-certified in addiction medicine and preventative medicine. He is the medical director at Alcohol Recovery Medicine. For over 20 years Dr. Umhau was a senior clinical investigator at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).

These pictures show marijuana, also known as cannabis or weed, in varying stages of growth, processing, and use. You may be concerned about plants you find growing in and around your home. Or, you may wonder whether what you discovered in your child’s room is marijuana or indicates your child may be using marijuana.

Even if you live in a jurisdiction where marijuana is legal, there are age restrictions and your child can end up facing legal consequences. You should prepare to have a conversation with your child about the risks involved in using or selling marijuana when underage.

Marijuana Plant

Cavan Images, LLC / Taxi / Getty Images

Cannabis plants have a palmate leaf with serrated leaflets. You are likely to recognize them from popular art. While there are plants with similar leaves, the serration pattern for Cannabis is distinctive.

The plants have changed considerably in recent decades as they have been bred to produce more buds. There are a number of different types of marijuana plants that may vary somewhat in terms of appearance:

  • Indica plants tend to have larger, heavier buds when flowering and have short, wider leaves. This type of plant is native to Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India.
  • Sativa is another type of plant that tends to produce long, narrow-shaped flowers. They generally have long, thin leaves. They are found mostly in hot, dry climates and can grow to 12 feet or more.
  • Hybrid plants are often grown in greenhouses or on farms and are a combination of Indica and Sativa strains. Their exact appearance depends on the specific plants used to produce them.
  • Hemp tends to look similar to other cannabis plants but may have thinner leaves, less branching, and grow very tall. While hemp is still a type of marijuana plant, it contains 0.3% or less THC, the psychoactive compound found in cannabis plants.

Recap

Cannabis leaves have a distinctive appearance. They may differ in appearance, however, depending on the specific type of plant.

Marijuana Bud

Oksana Smith / EyeEm / Getty Images

The marijuana bud is the harvested flower that comes from a female cannabis plant. Buds are dried, cured, and ready to smoke.

If you look closely at a marijuana bud, you will see the fine "hairs" and leaves that make up the bud after it is dried. They are also likely covered with sugar-like crystals that are called trichomes.

Marijuana buds are higher in THC than other parts of the plant and are sold at a premium. Marijuana has been increasingly bred to produce more buds, which is generally much more potent than the average street-grade weed.

Ground Marijuana

Steve Cicero / Getty Images

Marijuana is dried and chopped up to prepare for use and sale. The stems are usually removed. Dried marijuana is also typically ground into smaller pieces. This is done to help ensure that all parts of the marijuana burn more evenly. This also helps to release the cannabinoids and terpenes that can then be inhaled.

In most cases, cannabis dispensaries do not pre-grind marijuana before it is sold. Grinding it before a sale can affect freshness and tends to reduce the potency of the substance.

Grinding exposes more of the marijuana product to light and oxygen. This causes the THC, terpenes, and cannabinoids to degrade more quickly.

Because of this, people usually grind the marijuana shortly before using it, whether they are hand-rolling it into a joint or smoking it in a bong or pipe. Ground marijuana may also be combined with tobacco and rolled into a cigar known as a blunt.

Anecdotally, some people prefer using a bong or pipe because it feels smoother and less harsh when inhaled. However, any type of smoking, whether it is a joint, pipe, or blunt has a detrimental impact on the lungs. Smoking damages lung tissues and increases the risk for respiratory conditions and cancer.

Research suggests that people place about twice the amount of marijuana into a blunt as they do in a joint or a pipe. People who smoke blunts may be at a higher risk of experiencing negative side effects due to the amount of marijuana smoked. One study found that people who smoke blunts experience more intense withdrawal symptoms when they enter treatment for cannabis use disorder.

Recap

Ground marijuana can be smoked in a variety of ways such as a joint, spliff, blunt, bong, or pipe. How it is used often depends on personal preference.