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  • Writer's pictureKyle Holt

Cannabis Growing Techniques 201: Gender Variability in Your Grow

- What is hermaphroditism in Cannabis? How to spot hermaphroditic plants within your grow.

For as long as Cannabis has existed, it has been both revered and misidentified by humans. Before the taxonomical systems came into play, we know that many cultures were cultivating cannabis for its use in textiles, pharmacological properties, and psychoactive effects. In fact, a 2008 study that appeared in the Journal of Experimental Botany showed that Caucausoid shamans were using cannabis that resembles the flower products on the market today. The researchers demonstrated this fact by analyzing Cannabis found in a 2,700-year-old grave in the Yanghai Tombs of the Xinjiang-Uighur Autonomous Region of China. They showed that, even back then, cannabis was being reduced to female flowers with significant cannabinoid concentrations.

Of course, cannabis has to be well-maintained to end up with such a result. If you’re not careful, your crop could contain a hermaphrodite that will pollinate other plants and ruin your harvest.

What is hermaphroditism in Cannabis?

Many people separate their cannabis plants into two types, males and females. The The separation leaves the females free to focus their efforts on floral development since they can avoid being pollinated by the separated males. However, there are instances where your plants may produce both male and female parts. This is called hermaphroditism, and it exists in cannabis.

A paper from 2007 pointed out that exactly how plants started separating plants into male and female counterparts is relatively unknown. However, it is widely accepted that dioecious plants descended from hermaphroditic ancestors.

As a result, the varieties that exist today may present hermaphroditic characteristics. Interestingly, researchers have discovered there are some things they can do to control, or even change, a cannabis plant from female to male.

As far back as 1982, researchers were documenting this process. They showed that the apical application of silver nitrate and silver thiosulphate anionic complex leads to the change. The researchers noted that this was useful for “producing seeds that give rise to only female plants. This technique is also useful for maintaining gynoecious lines.”

How To Identify A Hermaphroditic Cannabis Plant

Within a few days to a couple of weeks of the end of the vegetative state, cannabis plants start showing their reproductive organs. Female flowers bloom out of tiny hairs that burst out of the nodes, while the male parts show up as distinct pollen sacs.

In some plants, however, you may see the presence of both the initial flower and a small pollen sac, such plants are known as hermaphrodites.

What To Do With a Hermaphrodite In Your Cannabis Grow

Unlike male plants, you may not need to remove the plant from your harvest. As long as you recognize the growth of the male node early enough, you can pinch, twist, and pull them off without delivering undue stress to the plant.

Now that you know more about what hermaphroditism in Cannabis is and how to identify potential hermaphrodites in your grow, let us know what other questions you have about advanced growing techniques in the comment section!

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