A cannabis bud is a complex and beautiful thing – fiery orange hairs tangled around chunky, sugar-like crystals and knobs of tiny leaves make for an interesting visual compliment to the plant’s medicinal and recreational benefits.

Trimmed from larger, leafier bulbs, cannabis buds are only produced by female or the rare hermaphroditic plant. Large, resinous flowers on the female plants are pollinated by male plants, which boast smaller spheres around the base of the plant’s leaves. Growers, however, must harvest the flowers before pollination, as the consumable byproduct known as sinsemilla contain the desired THC content.

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The Structure of a Cannabis Plant

Like other plants, cannabis has a common structure most familiar with basic botany should be able to easily identify. Cannabis grows on long, skinny stems with large leaves that extend out from nodes. Once flowering occurs, the unique and individual characteristics of the plant begin to take shape.


The cola is the terminal bud of the plant where the tight female flowers bloom and flourish. The primary cola forms at the top of the plant with smaller ones forming along budding sites beneath.


The calyxes on a cannabis plant are the tiny, sugary leaves that comprise the female flower. Calyxes are typically the aspect of the plant with the highest concentration of THC.


Beneath the calyxes come tiny red-hued hairs called pistils, which collect pollen from male plants. As pistils age and mature, they darken and shift from yellow to orange, then red and brown.


Trichomes serve as a natural protector against predators and adverse weather conditions, but the blanket of resin on the leaves, stems, and calyxes also contain oils that produce THC and CBD.