Are you confused about the endless names used to describe different parts of the cannabis plant? Do you feel silly that you’ve never seen a cannabis plant growing in the ground? Don’t worry! Join me as we explore everything you need to know about the female cannabis plant and how to use each so you can find what is the most beneficial for you and your needs.
Table of Contents
- Labeled pictures for easy identification
- A beginners-level guide to understanding the different parts of the plant
- Tips for how to use each part of the plant – so nothing goes to waste!
Why You Will Love This Guide
I used cannabis every day for eight years before ever seeing a real, live cannabis plant growing in the ground. Crazy right?
Like me, and maybe you, many people use cannabis as a medicine long before they ever encounter a live plant.
This is certainly true for most members of my Well With Cannabis Community.
So, of course, it is no surprise that it can be confusing to try and understand all the different names used to describe the plant.
Flowers, buds, fan leaves, sugar leaves, stems, trichomes, and more.
While my cannabis terms and abbreviations guide may help, I will be breaking it down even deeper for you in this beginner-friendly guide.
Join me as we explore the different parts of a cannabis plant, why we want female plants and discover which parts benefit you and your unique needs.
Meet The Female Cannabis Plant
However, real, live cannabis plants remain elusive because, despite legalization, growing cannabis remains illegal in most states.
Unfortunately, this means that most people are not familiar with the plant.
This can lead to a lot of confusion surrounding names for certain parts.
I hope these pictures and this guide can help you better understand how the plant looks, functions, and grows – even if you have never seen one in real life – yet!
For many people, this is the most important thing.
For this reason, I will include a note along with each heading to indicate how many trichomes each part of the plant typically contains.
Cola and Flower Buds
In this guide, we are only talking about female cannabis plants.
Yes – cannabis plants come in two sexes, each producing a different flower.
You can learn more about male cannabis plants here, but they are ineffective in producing the medicine we want; therefore, we are not considering them here.
Looking at the picture above of a female plant, you can see that the cola is the large portion on the top of the plant, consisting of a cluster of flower buds growing together.
This appears to be one big bud but is a collection of hundreds of smaller flower buds.
While one main cola appears at the top, additional small colas can be found on the lower branches.
The cola contains many parts we will discuss next, including the trichomes, sugar leaves, bract and calyx, stigma, and pistil.
The cola and flower buds contain nearly all of the plant’s trichomes.
Cannabis trichomes are important because they produce resinous oils that contain cannabinoids and terpenes – essential plant medicine.
These tiny, crystal-like, sticky glands are found primarily on the flower buds but can also be found in smaller amounts on other parts of the plant.
Trichomes contribute to the plant’s taste, smell, and health benefits.
They are the reason why different strains of cannabis can be more potent than others and why the smell can vary so greatly.
You can learn more about trichomes here.
Remember, trichomes contain cannabinoids and terpenes.
Terpenes are important because they contain health benefits, create the plant’s aroma, and help the plant protect itself from predators.
The trichomes are the most crucial part of the plant because they contain cannabinoids and terpenes.
Sugar leaves grow on the cola, extremely close to the flower bud.
They get their name because they are covered in trichomes, making a sugar-coated appearance on the leaves.
While not as potent as the flower buds, these leaves are often referred to as trim and perfect for making edibles.
They are much smaller than fan leaves, grow together with buds, and contain significantly higher amounts of trichomes.
The sugar leaves contain a high amount of trichomes.
Bract and Calyx
The bract is the part found in the green female reproductive area with a tear-like structure.
Bracts are covered with many trichomes and usually have high amounts of cannabinoids.
Inside the bract is where the calyx exists.
You can’t see the calyx with your naked eyes, but it’s right there, protecting the ovules.
The bract contains a high amount of trichomes.
Pistil and Stigma
The pistils are the part of the flower that looks like thin, fuzzy strands of hair.
The stigma is the top of the flower’s pistil, collecting pollen grains from the male cannabis plants.
When the plant is young, the stigmas are colored white but become yellow as they get closer to the harvest stage.
Many home growers want to prevent the stigmas from collecting pollen to increase the yields.
The pistil and stigma contain no to very few trichomes.
Fan leaves are the large leaves on the body of the cannabis plant. Their main purpose is to capture light from the sun for photosynthesis.
Most fan leaves do not have many trichomes, so they are not the first choice when making edibles.
However, many people use the fan leaves for their nutrition benefits.
Fan leaves contain no to very few trichomes and, instead, are often used for their nutrition benefits.
Stalk and Stems
The stalk provides stability and structure to the cannabis plant.
The main stalk grows from the root system and holds all the branches and leaves.
The stalk is very strong and contains tough fibers used to create textiles, clothing, paper, and more.
The stems are the smaller branches that grow off of the stalk.
Generally, the stems do not contain many trichomes and are not often used for any meaningful purposes.
However, the closer the stems get to the flower bud, the more likely they will have trace amounts of trichomes.
People often use these stems to make stem tea.
The stalk does not contain trichomes. Stems contain very few trichomes.
Like any other plant, the cannabis root grows downward into the soil from the main stalk.
The main root of a cannabis plant is known as a taproot.
The functions of the roots include pulling nutrients, water, and oxygen from the soil to help the plant grow healthy and strong.
The roots also work in conjunction with the stem to provide stability for the plant.
There is preliminary evidence to suggest that cannabis roots contain many health benefits on their own.
You can learn more about the benefits and how to make your cannabis root tincture here.
The roots do not contain trichomes but do have their reported health benefits.
I hope this guide helps you to identify the different parts of the cannabis plant more easily.
This is so important because all of the parts are distinctly different, and some are more beneficial to you than others.
If you want to go even deeper into learning about the cannabis plant itself, please join me in my Cannabis Compass Online Course.
Everything you wish someone taught you…
The Cannabis Compass Online Course will show you how to use, apply, and dose cannabis safely and effectively so that you can begin to manage your anxiety, pain, and inflammation the natural way from the comfort of your own home. Learn more below.
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