Published on: 12/04/2021
What is hermaphroditic cannabis, and how to distinguish a male or female plant?
One of the best moments for cannabis growers is discovering that a hermaphroditic marijuana specimen was born among the plants born from its cannabis seeds. It would involve having a seedling rich in seeds and, consequently, losing the flowers that would have been born from a female individual.
Therefore, numerous people wonder how to recognize a hermaphrodite plant and the differences between it and a male or female plant. Yet information about it is scarce!
Therefore, today we have decided to talk about hermaphroditic cannabis plants, their origin, and their characteristics so that you can know everything about them.
Remember that it is not allowed to grow cannabis (not even for personal use), so we ask you to read this in-depth analysis for informational purposes only, without growing auto flower seeds, feminized seeds or fast growing weed seeds in any way.
What are hermaphroditic cannabis plants?
Hermaphroditism is an unwanted feature of marijuana and involves developing female flowers and pockets of pollen (capable of fertilizing flowers) in the same plant. These genus specimens will likely produce numerous seeds and fertilize female plants, reducing the farmer’s yield and the quality of the final product.
But what are the reasons why cannabis becomes hermaphrodite? Why is it taking on the characteristics of the male gender and those of the female gender?
You must know that marijuana hermaphroditism can have 2 origins: genetic and environmental.
Regarding genetic origin, some cannabis strains are more prone to hermaphroditism than others.
Environmental hermaphroditism, on the other hand, derives from the stress experienced by the plant during the growth phases. When a cannabis plant grows in challenging environmental conditions, it finds strategies to ensure the species’ survival still. Among these, there is the production of flowers and pollen sacs and, therefore, self-pollination.
A hermaphroditic marijuana plant is probably a stressed plant
Growing under stressful environmental conditions is the most common reason why a cannabis plant develops both female (flower) and male (pollen sac) reproductive organs and self-produces seeds.
These conditions are generally the following:
- Thermal resistance, i.e., thermal changes or extreme temperatures (hot or cold).
- Abrupt changes in the photoperiod, for example, interruptions in the cycles of darkness during flowering.
- Mechanical stress, caused by wind, rain and incorrect handling of plants and much more. This stress factor involves root damage, broken branches, pruning during inappropriate periods (for example, in the flowering phase).
- Water stress: lack or excess of water.
- Use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides.
- Excessive fertilization.
- Pests and moulds.
Experiencing one or more of the following situations leads the plant to develop both male and female characteristics.
For this reason, growers must keep a high level of attention for each specimen, from the germination of the marijuana seeds to the ripening of the flowers, guaranteeing favourable environmental conditions for the plantation.
However, the development of a hermaphroditic cannabis plant is an eventuality to be considered, and it is essential to know how to recognize an individual of both male and female gender to understand what to do with it.
How to recognize a hermaphroditic marijuana plant?
Hermaphroditic cannabis plants feature both female flowers and pollen sacs (also called male flowers), easily distinguishable from each other.
The female flowers have pistils that appear as graceful white filaments at the beginning of their development.
The male flowers are even easier to recognize, as they have a banana helmet shape and a yellowish colour; precisely, what might seem like tiny bananas are 5 stamens, the real male reproductive organs.
If, in the same plant, a grower finds both types of flowers … He can be sure that he has found a hermaphrodite specimen.
What to do in this case?
Plant suffering from hermaphroditism: eliminate it or not?
If a farmer finds a plant exhibiting both male and female characteristics, he usually takes one of the following choices:
- He eliminates it to prevent it from polluting itself and the surrounding female plants, leading to the production of seeds (and, therefore, interrupting the production and maturation of flowers).
- If the male flowers are few, he removes them thanks to a pair of sterilized tweezers. However, he must keep a close eye on that plant even in the following weeks.
- Use the plant to get feminized seeds. However, this procedure is risky because the seeds could inherit hermaphroditic genetics and give life to plants comprising both male and female characteristics.
Most growers prefer to avoid other difficult situations and therefore cut the hermaphrodite plant, verifying (in the following weeks) that whether the female specimens of the plantation begin to produce seeds or not. The development of seeds is, in fact, a clear indication of successful fertilization.