Cannabis Class: Anatomy of the Cannabis Plant
Welcome back to class my beautiful students. In our previous lessons we have had a close look at the genders, species and chemical make-up of the cannabis plant. However, **THAT’S IT BOYS IN THE BACK IM NOT HAVING IT TODAY, STRAIGHT TO THE PRINCIPLES OFFICE**.. sorry.. where was I? …. Umm… today we will dissect the anatomy of the plant, much like in science class when we pulled apart a frog’s insides. It is worth noting though, that no cannabis plants were harmed in the making of this blog.
Needless to say, we will be studying the female plant as this is the gender that produces the buds we all know and love. There are slight differences in appearance between sativa and indica plants, however the composition is the same.
In a blog post to come we will discuss the life cycle of cannabis, so today let’s mostly focus on the fully grown, ready to harvest plant when we take a look at its anatomy.
Let’s start from *under* the ground up, starting with roots… see what I did there? Hehe.
The roots of the cannabis plant, exactly like almost all other plants, are essential to its survival. Roots draw water and other vital nutrients into the plant from the soil. Cannabis roots are thin and white coloured and they love to fill whatever pot they are in, growing as much as they can to let in all the more water and nutrients.
Stem and Branches
Cannabis develops from a single stem that then branches off (pun intended) into many branches. Not only does this stem provide structural support for the plant, but its vascular system also carries the water and nutrients throughout the plant.
You might be thinking... vascular system? Yes, the cannabis plant has its own vascular system and therefore is classed as a ‘vascular plant’. A vascular plant is any plant that has specialised vascular tissue. There are two types of vascular tissue, Xylem and Phloem, both of which the cannabis plant has. Xylem is responsible for moving water and nutrients up from the roots, throughout the plant and Phloem is responsible for transporting sugars and organic compounds produced in photosynthesis around the plant from where they are made, to where they are then used or stored.
Arguably the most distinguishable part of the cannabis plant. Actually, I take that back... it’s not arguable at all hahaha everyone knows the iconic fan leaves! The purpose of these leaves is to collect sunlight for energy, required for the plant’s growth, and shade the young buds from sunburn.
A node is a point of attachment of a leaf or a branch on the stem.
The space between two nodes.
Calyx (also known as the Bract)
The calyx is the first part of the flower that forms. It is made up of a collection of small leaves called ‘sepals’, these tiny leaves protect the flower at its base. The calyx is basically the base of the flower that holds everything together. It provides stability to the flower and creates a protective cocoon for the plant’s reproductive organs.
The pistil is the female organ of the flower. An article I read described the pistil as “commonly known as the vaginas of the cannabis plant”… I mean… maybe amongst botanists they are commonly known as that but that’s the first I’ve heard of it haha. They look like small hairs that protrude from the calyx and collect pollen. Once they have matured, they turn an orangey/browny colour.
The flower is the reproductive structure of the cannabis plant that emerges from the Calyx. Female plants produce large, resin-secreting flowers that are trimmed down to round or pointed buds that I grind up and sprinkle into a bowl and rip down my lungs. Flowers attract pollinators and once fertilised, they produce seeds.
A ‘cola’ is the flower that forms at the end of any branch. These nugs tend to be larger in size as they get more sunlight. Modern growers have developed methods for creating multiple main ‘colas’ to increase yields.
The trichomes are the small white/clear mushroom shaped resin producing glands. All 500+ of the chemical compounds that are found in the trichomes can be split into just two categories, cannabinoids and non-cannabinoids.
To read more on these chemical compounds produced, check out our past blog “Cannabis Class: Chemical Compounds”.
Tiny leaves that hold the buds together. They’re called sugar leaves because of the high level of trichomes that cover them, creating a glossy, sparkly, sugary looking cover on top of the leaves.
Alright! There you have it. I love learning more and more about cannabis and I hope you guys have enjoyed doing this deep dive into all the bits and pieces that make up this absolute god plant.
Homework this week? I’m glad you asked, take a look at your buds at home and see if you can identify some orangey/brown pistols, some sugar leaves and trichomes. And hey, maybe your biggest nug is a cola!? Happy dissecting class <3
See you next week!
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