Hermaphroditism is an ancient phenomenon in the history of cannabis growth. It’s been around for decades, even though; growers try their best to avoid hermaphrodite weed plants.
So, what is hermaphroditism in a weed plant that the growers detest?
A hermaphrodite plant is the one carrying both male and female traits. These plants would produce flowers along with seeds and thick flower buds, affecting the overall efficiency of the cannabis plant.
Growers tend to evade every single possibility that can lead to their harvest turning hermaphroditic as the presence of a male plant in the grow-space while cultivation can be drastic. The pollen sacs may burst and fertilize the neighboring flowers.
It would result in the energy’s diversion into seed production instead of the formation of resin or trichome mass on the buds. They are thus ruining the yield by affecting its recreational potency. Moreover, the buds are fraught with seeds that nobody wants.
If you’re looking for everything you need to know about hermaphrodite weed plants, then keep on reading.
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What is a Hermaphrodite Plant?
Usually, the weed plants are either distinctly male or female. A male plant produces pollen sacks, whereas its female counterpart sprouts buds and pistils. However, in the case of hermaphrodites, as mentioned earlier, it is the kind of plant bearing both male and female organs.
How to Recognize It?
If you want to know how a hermaphrodite cannabis plant looks, you need to see the appearance of a male and a female cannabis plant first. (We’ll discuss their appearance in detail later in the article.)
Hermaphrodite cannabis plants most likely resemble the female plants; however, they’re smaller in size. The unique process that results in their adaptation to hermaphroditic traits affects their growth process.
Keep close eyes on your plants. The pollen sacks of hermie flowers are different in appearance to those on a regular cannabis plant. They support a yellow and elongated look and, for this reason, hence the name “bananas.”
When the plant is younger, if you see banana-shaped sacs growing on the female cannabis plants, you must consider it as the early sign of a hermie plant, as you may find these pollen sacs way before production of flowers on any plant.
Moreover, hermaphrodite marijuana plants yielding flowers will be full of seeds inside as well as on the outside of the bud, which makes it easier for you to notice way before harvest.
What Causes a Hermaphrodite Weed Plant?
Numerous factors cause a hermaphrodite weed plant. We have divided these factors into two main categories for better understanding.
Some seeds are genetically inclined towards having a high percentage of hermaphroditic traits. When grower clones from a hermaphrodite mother plant, these seeds are produced. The offsprings are most likely to carry similar characteristics as these are highly inheritable.
Such plants are most commonly known as ‘true hermaphrodites.’ Some of the examples are Thai Sativa, Blueberry, Kush strains, and Gorilla Glue, etc.
You need to monitor your plants for such signs carefully. If you find any, we would advise you to remove the hermaphrodite plants upon identification to prevent nearby plants from fertilization. It’s to stop these from attaining Sensimilla status and eventually dropping their quality with seed making.
Another critical factor that causes hermaphroditism in cannabis plants is ecological stress. Genes may play a small role here as well. However, they are not significant factors.
As we know, cannabis is a highly sensitive plant. If the female plant senses any threat leading to stress during the flowering stage, it will react as a defense mechanism.
The plant may start producing pollen emitting stamens along with pistils on the flowers. It’s to shorten the flowering time and eventually increase the chances of passing on its genes through seeds.
Some of the stress-inducing factors are as follows:
Alterations in the photoperiod
Any unusual changes, modifications, interruptions, or lack of stability in the dark or light period of cannabis plants can cause stress, especially in the flowering stage.
If the temperature is continuously too high, i.e., higher than 27ºC, it can be a high stress-inducing factor, thus leading to hermaphrodite plants.
Physical stress affects these plants, as well. For instance, if you decide on pruning during the flowering stage, the plant may find itself under pressure, and its defense mechanism may kick in.
The infestation of insects, mites, or other pests can cause high stress as well. You must maintain a healthy environment to avoid any such influx.
Balance is the key here. Too many pesticides or even excessive plant growth regulators would disturb the necessary equilibrium.
Any conditions that could lead to structural damage to plants can cause stress as well. The plant reacts as soon as it detects a possibility of harm to its structure, i.e., stems, roots, etc.
Cannabis plants are highly sensitive. Nutrients overdose can cause extreme trauma. For instance, excessive potassium or phosphorus to feed the plants would disturb the balance leading to instability.
Keep a close eye on your crop. Don’t miss the harvest window. If the harvest delays, the plant may lead to stress.
Excessive irrigation, as well as lack of irrigation, can cause hydric stress. In addition to that, too hot or too cold water may cause the same effect.
How Can You Avoid the Factors Causing Hermaphrodite Plants?
You can take a variety of steps to ensure your plant’s exposure to any kind of environmental stress.
Avoid Physical Stress
We would recommend you refrain from pruning, staking, topping, or numerous other invasive techniques during the flowering phase. If you want to practice these, make sure to complete it in the vegetative stage. It’s to prevent any environmental exposure during a more sensitive time when the plant is highly prone to sexual changes.
Balanced Light at Safe Distance
We would recommend you to ascertain properly balanced light. Keep it at an adequate distance from the yield to avoid any unwanted stress.
Preserve Thermal Requirements
Keep a check on the temperature for your marijuana crop. We would recommend you maintain a comfortable temperature during the flowering period, i.e., 18 ºC to 30 ºC or 65 ºF to 85 ºF.
Avoid Alterations in the Photo Periods
Be consistent with dark and light periods, especially during the flowering phase.
Keep the Equipment in Check
We would recommend you frequently check timers, plugs, and various other equipment in your grow rooms to ensure there’s no malfunction.
Harvest in Time
Don’t delay the harvest from the recommended time.
Take Measures to Avoid Pests
Another additional point is to keep your plants free from pests and diseases, maintain hygiene, and use recommended pesticides in a safe quantity.
We would also recommend you to maintain the feeding schedule under control; it’s to avoid any potential nutrient-lock. Don’t go overboard with these.
Ensure Good Quality Seeds
Lastly, but most importantly, purchase your seeds from a trusted supplier to ensure good quality heredities of your seeds.
Do your research, check reviews of fellow growers before making a purchase. It would help you to make the right decision without risking your whole time, money, and effort.
Male vs. Female
Cannabis plants are ideally ‘dioecious plants,’ which means they have male and female reproductive organs on separate individual plants. As opposed to monoecious plants that produce both organs on the same plants.
Female plants are the kind, growers love and want the most. These contain the highest content of CBD and THC, thus becoming an ideal choice for smoking. The flowers of the female cannabis plant are covered with resin and hold plants active components like THC, CBD, terpenes, etc.
However, male plants are comparatively less popular due to very less amount of cannabinoids on their leaves, stems, or sacs. It makes them less suitable for smoking. Their primary role is to release pollen into the air for fertilization.
How to Recognize Male Plants
You can distinguish male cannabis plants from the female plants due to the formation of pollen sacs on the plant’s nodes. You’ll find small balls hanging from the side of the male cannabis plant in contrast with the upward-facing hairs on their female counterparts.
When the plant reaches its maturity level, these balls will open up like a flower to release pollen into the air to fertilize the neighboring female plants. If you’re trying to create your strains or seed, it’s the ideal way.
However, if you want your female plants for recreational purposes, these male plants with pollen would affect the quality of your yield. And the female flowers would divert their energy in sprouting seeds.
If you don’t want to make seeds, we would recommend you to remove every male plant from your grow space with utmost care. Any abrupt move or jerk can cause the plant to release its pollen.
How to Recognize Female Plants
You can distinguish the sex of cannabis plants by looking for the early signs of bloom on them. You’ll find bracts of small white or orange hairs/ stigmas on their nodes.
These tiny hairs are the sex organs of female plants. The quantity of these small hairs grows up to a point where they swell up from the bottom upwards.
At this point, the plant is forming calyxes, which would ultimately stack up to create the flower. The calyxes remain empty if the plant isn’t pollinated. For growers that want this crop for recreational or medicinal purposes, these empty calyxes are their ultimate goal.
However, if pollination occurs, these calyxes will be filled with seeds, diverting all the plant’s energy to produce, grow, and protect these seeds. The taste and potency will be low and compromised.
What are the Early Signs of a Hermie Plant?
What to Do When You Find Hermaphrodites?
As mentioned earlier, the male organ of hermaphrodites looks like bananas due to their elongated shape instead of regular ball shape. If you catch sight of these banana-shaped sacs, you should isolate the male plant in another grow room, away from other female plants, to avoid any chance of pollination.
However, if you find it hard to isolate the hermaphrodite cannabis plants, we would recommend you to act according to the stages of flowering for safe and better results.
Hermaphrodites at the Early Stage of Flowering
If you find a plant showing hermaphroditic traits from the beginning of the flowering phase, you need to eliminate the plant from the grow-space without any delay.
If you don’t take immediate action, the pollen may burst open and pollinate all the neighboring flowers on female plants. Consequently, these seeds/ offsprings would carry hermaphroditic traits.
Hermaphrodites at the Mid Stage of Flowering
If you find hermaphroditic traits in your weed plant during the mid-flowering phase, we would recommend you to act in the following two ways.
- If you find only a few male flowers, you may choose to remove them using a pair of tweezers. Sterilize your tool with alcohol to avoid any unwanted germ infestation. Spray water on the pollen to sterilize them and stop them from pollinating. Afterward, watch closely for any new bananas.
- If you find the plant producing a large number of male flowers, you should immediately eliminate the whole plant, chop it down to ensure no pollination occurs. Do it with the utmost care, as a jerk or abrupt movement can cause the plant to release pollen into the air.
Hermaphrodites at the Last Stage of Flowering
If you find your marijuana plant showing hermaphroditic features at the final stage of flowering, we would advise you to harvest it as soon as possible before the male flowers tend towards pollination.
How Would Removing Male Plants Affect the Psychoactive Properties of Female Cannabis Plants?
Female plants produce resin on their boy parts that hold highly psychoactive properties, the growers seek. These resins are ideal for recreational and medicinal purposes.
When you detect the sex of cannabis plants at an early stage and take measures to remove the male counterparts from the grow space, the quantity, and quality of yield increase tremendously.
The female plants produce resin to capture pollen. When kept away from pollen from their male counterpart, these female plants produce more and more resin in a desperate attempt to catch pollen for fertilization.
With no pollen till the last stage, you get flowers covered in a thick layer of trichomes, as they would use the energy and resources to produce resin instead of seeds. Thus the psychoactive properties enhance tremendously, providing top quality yield.
Seeds in Your Harvest
If you find seeds in your flowers upon harvesting, while there were no male plants nearby, it means at least one of your weed plants turned hermaphrodite. The male flower it produced was not removed and ultimately released their pollen to cause your female flowers to produce seeds.
As we know, once a flower is pollinated, it diverts all its energy into the production of seeds instead of producing new flowers or resin.
Since these seeds come from a hermaphrodite plant, they carry the same hermaphroditic traits. Such traits are undesirable by the growers, so we’d recommend you not to grow them.
If you can’t grow them, you can do a few things to put those flowers in use.
- You can remove the seeds from the buds, throw them away. Grind the rest and consume the weed.
- Secondly, you can put the entire yield with seeds to get resin extract, i.e., iceolator (Ice-o-lator) or rosin. You’ll get a high-quality product this way, which is free from grains.
Can You Smoke Hermaphrodite Weed?
Yes, you can smoke hermaphrodite weed.
However, you may not want to. Nobody wants to smoke weed, which is not even close to a female cannabis plant in terms of potency. Moreover, the taste and smoke-ability are profoundly affected due to its core full of seeds. The experience is most likely to be awful.
How Can You Use a Hermaphrodite Weed Plant?
There are numerous ways to put hermaphrodite plants to use. Some of these are as follows:
You can use hermaphrodite plants to make CBD or THC concentrates, such as powder, shatter, hash oil, hash, and many others. The THC content in the hermaphrodite plant is often low, and thus when you harvest and condense it, you’re most likely to get a reasonably active concentrate.
Feminized Seeds Formation
Another widespread use of the hermaphrodite plant is the formation of feminized seeds. In this process, you can introduce the hermaphrodite plant to a crop of female cannabis plants along with some hormones and chemicals. The procedure results in mostly female or feminized seeds with a higher rate of pure female production.
You can use these flowers for smoking; however, as mentioned earlier, the experience isn’t going to be a good one. Removing the seeds before smoking may improve the experience a bit; however, in no way would it deliver the experience as enjoyable as female marijuana flowers.
Final Thoughts on a Hermaphrodite Weed Plant
Hermaphrodite plants are the unspoken plants in the world of cannabis. Growers try their best to avoid any encounter with these; however, they are not always successful.
We hope if or when you encounter such a situation, our tips, tricks and the information we have provided would be helpful for you. Keep a close eye on your plants; inspect daily to avoid any unwanted situation.
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