Breaking Down Buds: Marijuana Plant Anatomy 101

Are you a marijuana enthusiast who’d like to know more about your favorite plant?

The marijuana plant comprises a complex architecture of different parts. Looking up close, you’ll notice tiny hair or sugary crystals among other things. What’s this all about?

Check out this article to learn more about marijuana plant anatomy.

Male vs Female

There are male, female, and hermaphroditic plants. Male plants are responsible for producing pollen, which then pollinates the female plants to start producing seeds.

However, what you’re most likely familiar with is the seedless female plant. This female plant is what produces the flowers that are trimmed down and are consumed for their properties.

Lastly, hermaphroditic plants contain both male and female sex organs, which allow them to pollinate themselves during flowering.

Cannabis growers try to avoid this self-pollination, as it will pass on the rare hermaphrodite gene and spoil the seedless plants that produce psychoactive effects.

Parts of Cannabis Plant

Cannabis is made up of several parts that create the plant we all know and love. Let’s review them.


Nodes are the areas where the leaf and stem intersect. Each node can have one or more leaves.

Nodes play an important role as this is where the cannabis plant starts growing either its male parts (pollen sacs) or female parts (pistils).

When growing marijuana for consumption, it’s essential to be able to recognize the sex of the plant. Non-pollinated flowers have a much higher quality compared to pollinated ones.

Pistils vs Stigmas

Inside the pistils are the reproductive parts of the flower. As for the stigmas, they are the strands of the pistils. Their role is to receive pollen from the male plants.

You can observe the stigmas’ color, which starts off white and darkens as the plant matures. While stigmas play an important part in the reproductive process, they have nothing to do with taste or potency.


A cola is a group of buds that grows together. The biggest clusters typically occur at the top of the plant.

Generally speaking, the bigger a cola is, the more potent the flower will be.


A bract looks like a small tear-shaped leaf that is covered in resin glands. It envelops the female’s reproductive parts.

Bracts have the highest concentration of cannabinoids on the marijuana plant.


Trichomes are those tiny crystals of resin that appear on the cannabis bud. Originally, the purpose of trichomes is to ward off predators.

They secrete oils that are called terpenes as well as cannabinoids such as THC and CBD. Terpenes are aromatic and can give cannabis distinct flavors.

There are even terpene cocktails to get the full health benefits of these oils in unique combos.

Study Marijuana Plant Anatomy

Marijuana plant anatomy makes possible the wonders of cannabis. Male cannabis plants produce pollens while female plants have pistils that collect the pollen.

Nodes are the junction of stem and leaves, where male and female parts start. Colas are clusters of buds, while bracts are covered in resin glands. Trichomes are tiny crystals that produce terpenes and cannabinoids.

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