The cannabis plant is comprised of several structures, many of which we can find on any ordinary flowering species. Cannabis grows on long skinny stems with its large, iconic fan leaves extending out from areas called nodes. Cannabis really starts to stand out in her flowers where unique and intricate formations occur.
A cola refers to a cluster of buds that grow tightly together. While smaller colas occur along the budding sites of lower branches, the main cola (sometimes called the apical bud) forms at the very top of the plant.
Stigma and Pistil
The pistil contains the reproductive parts of a flower, and the vibrant, hairlike strands of the pistil are called stigmas. Stigmas serve to collect pollen from males. The stigmas of the pistil begin with a white coloration and progressively darken to yellow, orange, red, and brown over the course of the plant’s maturation. They play an important role in reproduction, but stigmas bring very little to the flower’s potency and taste.
Bract and Calyx
A bract is what encapsulates the female’s reproductive parts. They appear as green tear-shaped “leaves,” and are heavily covered in resin glands which produce the highest concentration of cannabinoids of all plant parts. Enclosed by these bracts and imperceptible to the naked eye, the calyx refers to a translucent layer over the ovule at a flower’s base.
Despite their minute size, it’s hard to miss the blanket of crystal resin on a cannabis bud. This resin (or “kief” when dry) is secreted through translucent, mushroom-shaped glands on the leaves, stems, and calyxes. Trichomes were originally developed to protect the plant against predators and the elements. These clear bulbous globes ooze aromatic oils called terpenes as well as therapeutic cannabinoids like THC and CBD. The basis of hash production depends on these trichomes and their potent sugar-like resin. The best way to view your Trichomes is with a Jewellers loop which you can purchase here.
Here are some general rules about harvesting MY POT PLANT based on trichomes and the colour of the hairs/pistils. If you follow these rules, you’ll know how to harvest your Cannabis plant perfectly every time!
If white “hairs” are almost all sticking straight out and Trichomes are all still translucent (clear) then your plant is too young and not ready for harvest. Harvesting now will result in low yield and non-potent harvests.
The beginning of the harvest window opens when your plant has mostly stopped growing new white “hairs” or pistils and at least 40% of the white hairs have darkened and curled in.
Highest level of CBD is when many/most of the trichomes have turned milky white / cloudy (when viewed under a magnifier or through a jewellers loupe). Buy your Jewellers loupe at our online shop.
Leading cannabis horticulture authority Ed Rosenthal says the best way to know when a plant is ready to harvest is by using a magnifying glass or jewellers loupe and looking at the plant’s glands. If they are clear, it’s a sign the plant might need more time, but if they are amber or cloudy, “that’s a sign that they are beginning to deteriorate and you should take the plant down.”