Plants that become hermaphrodites due to environmental factors, such as stress, are known as bisexual plants. This occurs in the female plant, when it begins to detect factors that can induce stress, then it begins to produce stamens along the pistils. Basically, there are two reasons why you might end up with a hermaphrodite marijuana plant on your hands. Cannabinoids, terpenes, phytochemicals, organic cultivation Cannabis is a dioecious plant species.
Unlike other flowering plants, it produces different males and females. However, cannabis can also be hermaphrodite, producing a single plant with male and female sexual organs. Sometimes cannabis plants can inherit hermaphrodite genes. This can occur naturally or as a result of reproduction, the stress of which can introduce hermaphroditism into a strain.
Mishandling and handling of seeds can also increase a plant's chances of being a hermaphrodite. This may include feminization, an unnatural process used by seed banks and breeders to ensure a high percentage of female plants in their seeds. If done correctly, feminization will only produce female plants. If done wrong, some hermaphrodites may appear.
Plants naturally seek environmental conditions that allow them to grow healthy and strong. When these conditions are not met, they suffer stress. For cannabis, this stress can lead a plant to become a hermaphrodite. To better understand hermaphroditism in cannabis plants, it is important to realize that, in some cases, hermaphroditism is a survival mechanism.
Cannabis plants naturally like temperatures of around 20 to 30°C and relative humidity of 40 to 70%. If the temperature or humidity of your grow room is too far out of these ranges, this may be enough to turn your plants into hermaphrodites. As you probably know, lighting is very important for cannabis plants. If your plants are too close to their light source, or your lighting schedules are everywhere, this can also stress your plants.
Light leakage during periods of darkness is also a major stressor and should be addressed immediately. Its growing medium houses the roots of plants, helping them absorb nutrients and water. Poor growing media can cause root problems, which, you guessed it, puts stress on your plants. Training techniques such as fimming, topping, LST, supercultivation and many others work by stressing cannabis plants in a good way, encouraging them to absorb more nutrients or grow in a specific way that can help improve performance.
However, when done incorrectly, these techniques can adversely affect a plant. A hermaphrodite cannabis plant can destroy an entire crop of cannabis buds by releasing pollen into the grow room and fertilizing females. When this happens, females focus their energy on producing seeds instead of large, resinous buds. Therefore, it goes without saying that it is necessary to catch any hermaphrodite plant as quickly as possible.
Some plants show signs of hermaphroditism early on, when they are just beginning to produce flowers. You will see that these plants develop both male and female floral structures. These can form on different branches or on the same branch, and some hermaphrodites even develop both structures at the same site of the bud. Alternatively, some plants may become hermaphroditic towards the end of their flowering cycle.
This can be the result of a plant trying to make one last attempt to pollinate itself before dying. Therefore, while many growers tend to be much more interactive during the flowering cycle, it is important to regularly check plants and be on the lookout for hermaphrodite flowers during this final stage of life. Plants that become hermaphrodites at the end of the flowering phase often develop what some growers call “bananas”. This is the male stamen (exactly like those found inside a male pollen sac), which has protruded through the female flower and can release pollen at any time.
Technically speaking, these are mixed-sex shoots, rather than true hermaphrodite plants. True hermaphrodites, such as male plants, should be eliminated early to prevent them from pollinating your other females. Mixed-sex bud plants, on the other hand, can be harvested. If one of your plants has produced “bananas” towards the end of its flowering phase, you may want to consider harvesting the plant and preserving its buds, which should still be seedless.
Depending on how far away the plant is, it may produce perfectly fine smoke. Finally, always make sure to buy your seeds from a reputable cannabis seed bank, whose breeders do their best to minimize hermaphroditism when growing new strains. When you grow cannabis plants, they will become female, male, or hermaphrodite, that is, a hybrid of both sexes. Knowing the difference between the three is vital to maintaining a strong growth operation, whether you are planning to cross strains, maximize the yield of your female plants, or study each of the types.
However, cannabis, like those who love it, does not always play by the rules. Sometimes, this dioecious plant species goes against the current and develops male and female reproductive organs. These specimens are known as hermaphrodites. Genetic or environmental factors, or both, can cause plants to develop this unusual trait.
By having buds and pollen sacks, they end up developing the ability to pollinate and reproduce with themselves. Several factors can cause female plants to begin to develop pollen sacs or stamens exposed next to their flowers. This trait means that plants don't need to rely on a nearby male to burst their sacks and fertilize them. As we will discuss in a moment, this is actually an intelligent survival mechanism and a sample of nature's genius.
However, hermaphrodites are not desirable in the grow room or in the garden. Now, let's discuss both types and how to avoid the problems they cause. Even if you have all of these bases covered, plants can still pollinate themselves due to genetics. Plants with a poor genetic history can inherit genes associated with the expression of male flowers, producing hermaphrodites.
Cannabis plants are dioecious, meaning that there are separate male and female plants. While many plants can pollinate themselves, dioecious plants require a member of the opposite sex for reproduction. Hermaphrodite cannabis plants are those that exhibit male and female sexual organs. It is a natural adaptation designed to facilitate self-pollination, in case of environmental stress or little reproductive potential.
Some strains are genetically predisposed to this, but in other cases it is only a behavioral response to the plant environment. With this in mind, there are two different types of hermaphrodite plants to consider. True hermaphrodite plants are those that are genetically predisposed to it, such as Thai sativas. These plants develop complete and distinct male and female sexual organs.
In some nodes, flowers with stigmas (pistils) will grow, while pollen sacs with stamens will protrude from others. Bisexual flowers occur when a plant feels severe environmental stress during the flowering stage. When they suspect that they will not be pollinated from another location, they develop exposed stamens (commonly known as bananas) directly on the flower to pollinate themselves. As mentioned, there are genetic and environmental causes of hermaphroditism in cannabis.
For those who are genetically predisposed, it's as simple as that. Some strains simply have a higher chance of becoming true hermaphrodites. It's not clear if anything can be done to influence it on a particular marijuana plant. However, for most varieties, avoiding bisexual flowers means keeping your plants as happy as possible.
The more stressed they are exposed, the more likely they are to become hermie. What do all these elements have in common? Each makes the likelihood of plants surviving much lower and therefore plants respond by trying to fertilize themselves to continue their line. But it can be annoying as a grower. Another factor that can trigger hermaphroditism is waiting too long to harvest.
If the flowers get too long without being pollinated, this indicates that there are probably no male plants nearby and that if they want to produce seeds, they will have to pollinate themselves. Therefore, harvesting on time is crucial to avoiding hermitages and achieving the highest quality bud. If you buy feminized cannabis seeds from a good breeder, they shouldn't be more likely to become hermaphrodites than normal seeds. However, if sourced from an unreliable breeder, the risk of hermaphrodite plants is greater, since one way to grow feminized cannabis seeds is to force plants to become hermaphrodites and the seeds of a hermaphrodite plant have a higher chance of becoming hermaphrodites.
However, there is one thing to keep in mind. Even in cases where feminized seeds are more likely to produce hermitages compared to normal seeds, you're likely to end up with more female plants using the first type than the second; with regular seeds, about 50% turn out to be male plants. Accurately identifying a hermaphrodite cannabis plant in time will prevent it from affecting the rest of your crop. Therefore, learning the difference between males, females and hermies is key to successful cultivation.
Female cannabis plants are what most growers are looking for. After all, they are the ones that produce cannabinoid-rich flowers responsible for the iconic cannabis high. So how do you detect a female cannabis plant? Once they enter the pre-flowering stage (approximately 4-6 weeks after germination), their first pistils will appear in the knots. Knots are the parts of the plant where the branches meet the stem, and it is from these that female flowers (and male pollen sacs) grow.
The pistils appear white and thin at first, before accumulating in groups of calyxes. Male cannabis plants tend to grow faster than females and, as such, you may be able to identify their sex within 3 to 4 weeks of germination (or when the plants have around 5 to 6 knots). This gives you an additional opportunity to eliminate them before the females can be pollinated. However, if you don't see them, the pollen sacks will soon be mature enough to open and fertilize the females.
As with women, male sexual organs will also appear in the ganglia. Unlike the thin white pistils of a female, male pollen sacs appear as small green balls, which then grow into bundles of pollen sacks. This distinction makes detecting them quite easy, thankfully. But how do you know if your plant has male and female sexual organs? This depends on the type of hermie you are.
To spot a true Hermie, you'll look for the same signs as above. Male organs are likely to start developing a couple of weeks earlier than female organs. So, once you see the pollen sacs developing, you can eliminate them. If you are a hermaphrodite, pistils will appear a couple of weeks later.
This is much more difficult and you have much less time to act. Pollen sacs appear and open about a week or two after they form. This gives you enough time to detect and remove them. Bisexual flowers, on the other hand, will grow hard-to-detect stamens directly on flowers.
These small “bananas” are difficult to distinguish and can immediately be pollinated. It's worth investing in a pocket microscope to see your flowers, otherwise you could ruin your entire harvest. There are some things you can do if you see a Hermie. These depend in part on the type of hermie you are and how far away you are in growth.
If you find a true hermie, those who develop separate male and female sexual organs, the simplest solution is to remove the plant immediately. Either destroy it or, if you have space, place it in a sealed environment and harvest the flowers loaded with seeds. Another option, which carries the greatest risk, but yields the greatest rewards, is to cut pollen sacks as they develop. If you're careful, you can detect them long before they break and you can remove them as you find them.
Do it successfully and you can harvest unpollinated flowers when it's time to harvest. If you find bisexual flowers during the flowering stage, you only have two options (unless you want to let them pollinate your flowers). Remove the plant and then kill it (or grow it in isolation); or harvest it immediately. This second option is safe and means you get some yield from the plant, even if it's not the highest quality bud you've ever smoked.
It should be seed-free if you catch it early enough as well. If you choose to harvest your hermaphrodite plant, you can absolutely smoke it, although it is likely to be of poorer quality than most buds. If harvested early, it will not be as ripe and will therefore be less potent than mature flowers. And if seeds are developed, the plant will have redirected energy to seed production, rather than trichome production (THC, CBD, terpenes).
However, it should still cause you to get high. Avoiding hermaphrodite cannabis is quite simple if you control your choice of seeds and the plant environment. Another way to avoid hermitages is to take a cutting of a plant with healthy flowers. By doing this, the new clone will develop the exact qualities of the parent plant.
However, it's worth bearing in mind that it's still possible for environmental stress to trigger bisexual flowers on this new plant, but it won't be a true hermaphrodite. As a grower, it's important to be aware of how hermaphrodite plants appear and what to do if you find them. But you shouldn't live in fear of them. If you choose good quality cannabis seeds, the chances of a true hermaphrodite appearing are slim.
And avoiding bisexual flowers is mostly in your control. Luke has worked as a cannabis journalist and health science researcher for the past seven years. During this time, he has developed advanced knowledge of the science of the endocannabinoid system, cannabis phytochemistry and cultivation techniques. We understand why your privacy is important to you and we strongly believe that we must provide you with a website that works properly and respects your private data.
Human and environmental influences are the main causes of hermaphroditism. Cannabis plants are sensitive and immediately enter survival mode if stressed. This means that they have the capacity to be men or women. Or in the case of hermaphroditism, it can be both.
The reason to make sure there are no males or hermaphrodites in your garden is because male flowers produce pollen. When pollen touches the white hairs of a flower, it produces a seed and the sown grass gives you a headache. Although there are reasons in nature, hermaphroditism could be important, such as continuing with the species in case there is no male present, hermaphroditism is generally a bad thing when talking about cannabis plants. If you've grown your fair share of cannabis crops, chances are you've come across hermaphrodite cannabis.
When growing hermaphrodite cannabis or a male cannabis plant, you'll see that it develops faster than a female plant. Cannabis breeders designed these seeds to become an exclusively female crop, eliminating the hassle of male or hermaphrodite cannabis plants. Cloning is a process that breeders use to make genetic copies of healthy and robust female plants, reducing the guesswork that sometimes accompanies cannabis grown from seeds. For the purpose of this reading, it is simply important that you realize that growing cannabis is not exactly “natural”, and that this may influence the reason why some plants become hermaphrodites.