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Cannabis Plant Anatomy

Updated: Apr 3

The cannabis plant is truly amazing in all that it does. Let's take a closer look at the parts that make it whole...


The seeds of the cannabis plant are developed by a female plant. They will carry both male and female genetics. After germination, the seeds will develop a taproot. This is the main root that anchors the plant into the earth. *Feminized seeds have been bred to produce only female plants. Buying feminized seeds will help ensure that your plant grows consumable flowers.

Roots The taproot is the first root that will stem from the plant. Its job is to grow down into the soil and anchor the plant in. From here roots will grow, pulling in water, oxygen, and nutrients to keep the plant nice and healthy. Mycorrhizae, a beneficial fungus, is often added to the soil to help enhance the strength and overall functioning of the roots.

Stem It is the job of the plant’s main stalk to support all the lateral branches. The stem will grow up from the main root and gives the plant its structure and stability. It is common for growers to cut off the stem after it has grown above five or so nodes. This allows the plant to grow more laterally, which gives space for more buds to develop.


The branches will grow out from the main stem. It is their job to support the fan leaves and flowers. Many growers will top branches in order to allow more space for buds to grow.


The nodes are a point along the stem/ branches where new branches will emerge. Some nodes will develop their own fan leaves and buds but this does not necessarily happen to all of them. The space between each node is known as internodal spacing. The distance of the internodal spacing will help you to see whether the plant will grow tall or bushy.

Fan Leaves

Fan leaves are what we commonly use as a symbol for the cannabis plant. They are utilized to capture energy from light to make the plant grow nice and healthy. They do not produce resin and are usually discarded when trimming is done.

Sugar Leaves

Small leaves, covered in resin, that form near the buds. Sugar leaves are often used for products such as topical creams, bath bombs, edibles, and pre-rolls.


Cannabis flower clusters often referred to as “buds” are the end goal. Flowers are only grown from female plants and can range in size, shape, density, colour, smell, and more. Flowers contain many of the beneficial phytochemicals (terpenes, cannabinoids, flavonoids) that provide the high along with other benefits. Flowers need to go through a drying and curing process before consumption.


A cola refers to a point in which many flowers grow tightly together. The top cola (highest on the plant) tends to be higher in cannabinoids. There also tends to be a variance in terpenes in the colas depending on how high up they are in the plant.


The bract refers to small tear-shaped leaves that enclose and protect the female plant’s reproductive parts. They are densely coated in resin glands that produce the highest amount of cannabinoids on the whole plant.


The calyx is the first part of the flower that forms. It is made up of individual structures that look like leaves and helps ensure the safety of the developing flower.

Pistil and Stigma

Pistils are the female reproductive organs of the plant. They are composed of a stigma, a style, and an ovary. The stigma refers to hair-like strands that serve to catch pollen from male plants.


Trichomes are so tiny they are hard to see individually, but thousands of them together are what make up the crystal blanket that is found on cannabis flowers. If you were to use a microscope, you would see tiny translucent mushroom-shaped structures located on the leaves, stems, and calyxes. Trichomes are the source of resin and cannabinoids.

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