Written By: Ashley Meza
The structure of the bud is a critical characteristic that many customers look at to determine their cannabis purchase. It is an essential part of the shopping experience, but by the time consumers are shopping the bud is trimmed and packed, ready to be enjoyed. However, before the bud gets to this point, the cannabis plant it came from shares many of the same features you may recognize from other plant species, with some distinguishing unique attributes.
The cannabis plant grows on a long and skinny stem with leaves fanning out on either side. Like many plants, its uniqueness is found in its flower, A.K.A buds, with hair-like red-orange strands known as pistillate or stigmatic hairs, and coated in glimmering crystals known as trichomes. Both are essential in the cannabis plant’s growth and potency. (click the link here for a visual time-lapse of cannabis plant growing)
The Germination and Seedling Stage of The Cannabis Plant
All plants have their own growing cycle. Cannabis plants have four stages in their growing cycle, and can vary depending on each strain and whether the plant is grown indoor or outdoor.
Like all plants, it all starts with a seed. The first three to ten days are known as Germination, which is when the seed begins to sprout. The roots start growing down and the first cotyledon leaves develop.
These leaves are the first to grow from the seed, they are small, typically grow in pairs, and are the first sign that the plant is on the route to healthy growth. The cotyledon leaves growing is part of the Seedling part of the growth process and can take about two to three weeks to sprout.
The Vegetative Stage of The Cannabis Plant
The Vegetative stage of the growth process occurs between three to 16 weeks. This is the part of the process that grows the stem, branches, and fan leaves. The leaves are trimmed during harvest. The stem shoots straight up from the seed and is the foundation that holds the plant up. From the stem emerge branches; nodes are the part of the cannabis plant where the branch grows off the stem and is where you can look to know the sex of the plant.
Knowing whether the cannabis plant (or any plant, for that matter) is male or female is essential for the growing process in order to know what decisions to make as it grows. Male cannabis plants produce pollen sacs and pollen, and female cannabis plants need that pollen in order to produce the buds.
Flowering Stage of The Cannabis Plant
When the plant starts to produce buds, that is when it enters the Flowering part of the growing stage. The flowering stage can be between eight and 11 weeks. These buds only grow on female plants and contain cannabinoids such as CBG, CBN,CBD, THCA and terpenes that get you high and can potentially provide other medicinal benefits. The bud that you pick up to smoke are all female plants.
The cluster of buds that form on a female plant is called the Cola. The biggest cola lays on the top of the stem, and is often a prized possession to growers because of how big the main cola can grow to be, especially if tended attentively. Within the cola, and as you can occasionally find in bud, there are small leaves known as Bract or Calyx and is what protects the female plants reproductive parts; they are coated in resin glands, which produce the most potent concentration of cannabinoids compared to all the other parts of the plant.
Overall, plants are a beautiful and complicated form of life, and cannabis is no exception. It’s nice to know how much work gets put into making sure you have quality bud to smoke. No matter how a plant is cared for and grown, it produces a fascinating type of flower that creates the types of elevation we all know and love.