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Hermaphrodite Cannabis Plant: How To Spot and Deal With It

January 7, 2022

Did you know that cannabis plants have multiple genders? You may already know that you get male or feminized strains, but hermaphrodite cannabis is an interesting phenomenon that combines both genders.

When cultivating marijuana plants, you want a smooth, straightforward experience. While hermaphrodites are not inherently bad, they often cause unnecessary stress because you end up getting a crop of over-seeded, inferior buds.

We’re here to explain what exactly a hermaphrodite cannabis plant is. We’ll also go over the different genders, signs to look out for, how to deal with and avoid this occurrence in your garden.

Genders of cannabis plants

Here’s your word for the day: Dioecious. 

Dioecious means that cannabis plants have individualized male or female reproductive organs. In the case of hermaphrodite marijuana, you get a unique plant that has both

Like humans and animals, the plant kingdom has more than one gender. Gender equality has no place in the cannabis kingdom, though, as females are far superior. That’s because females are the only plants that produce consumable buds.

That’s not to say that each gender doesn’t serve a purpose. Even hermaphrodite cannabis has its place in the natural survival of the species. If you want to know more, find out how to tell if your plant is male or female before flowering.

Let’s dive into the characteristics of each gender. 

Male cannabis

In the cycle of life, reproduction is an innate desire in most living organisms. Unlike a cannabis hermaphrodite, a male has exclusively masculine characteristics.

Male cannabis plants grow sacs that produce weed pollen. Their primary purpose is to mate and spend their lifetime gifting surrounding females with heaps of pollen. They’re only good for breeding and seed collection despite their gentlemanly behavior.

When you get a hermaphrodite marijuana plant, put it to good use for these male qualities.

To identify a male cannabis plant, examine the stalks and the leaves. Males have thicker stalks and fewer leaves. They grow little bulbs at the joints between the branches and the main stalk.

When hermaphrodite cannabis or a male cannabis plant grows, you’ll see it develop quicker than a female plant. When your plant flowers, you’ll know it’s a male right away by its faster growth and absence of pistils. Growers generally use males to cross-breed and create new cannabis strains.

Male cannabis plant
Male cannabis plant

Female cannabis

You’ll see no cannabis hermaphrodite signs when growing a female plant. These gorgeous plants only display good qualities. Female cannabis plants are bushier, brighter, and generally more attractive than males. After about six weeks, you’ll be able to identify one.

While both males and females grow small balls at the joints, feminized plants and the female parts of marijuana hermaphrodites grow semi-transparent hairs from those balls. These are known as pistils. They’re responsible for collecting pollen from a male. 

Unlike males, females produce flowers with trichomes containing the cannabinoids most growers are after. When females are left un-pollinated and have no interference from hermaphrodite marijuana, they’ll reach their full potential. 

Females grow thicker, stickier, and bigger without males, with higher yields and better cannabinoid content.

The most popular type of seed to buy is a feminized seed. Cannabis breeders engineered these seeds to grow into an all-female crop, eliminating the hassles of male or hermaphrodite cannabis plants.

Female marijuana pistils
Female marijuana pistils

Hermaphrodite cannabis

Now that you know the differences between the two genders, you’ll be able to identify the dual characteristics of a hermaphrodite.

Hermies can either be true hermaphrodites or what’s known as nanners. There are distinct differences between each.

What is a hermaphrodite cannabis plant?

On Earth, life is about the survival of the fittest. The evolution of cannabis has resulted in a hermaphrodite marijuana plant, a means of survival in this harsh world.

A hermaphrodite contains equal parts, male and female. Some nodes on the plant have male pollen sacs, while other areas display female flowers. True hermaphrodites have these structures on the same site.

Self-pollination occurs when the plant takes matters into its own hands and breeds with itself. The hermie pollen sacs burst open, sending the pollen into the flowers, inducing seed production.

The seeds from a hermaphrodite almost always grow into plants with the same qualities.

What are nanners?

Some female plants end up revealing male characteristics during their flowering phase

These plants have small growths that resemble bananas, hence the name cannabis nanners. They grow a stamen in the female flower with pollen to send to the bud sites for reproduction.

Hermaphrodite cannabis plant
Hermaphrodite cannabis plant

What causes hermaphroditism 

Human and environmental influences are the main causes of hermaphroditism. Cannabis plants are sensitive and immediately go into survival mode if they’re stressed out.

There are several different causes of this phenomenon. We’ll cover the most common ones that result in hermaphrodite cannabis.

  • Incorrect training methods: Many growers use high- or low-stress training and pruning techniques to stress a cannabis plant. When done correctly, it encourages better, healthier growth and increased yields. 

When done incorrectly or poorly, it has negative effects and may result in a hermaphrodite cannabis plant.

  • Prolonged flowering: Cultivating cannabis involves patience, tenderness, and a keen eye. As you become more experienced, you’ll learn how and when to harvest your crop at the right time. 

The flowering stage is beautiful to watch, and you harvest the plant once it fully matures and turns darker. Watch out, though, as it’ll turn into a hermie cannabis plant if left to flower for too long. It’ll switch into survival mode and attempt to pollinate itself before dying.

  • Incorrect nutrients or growing medium: To reach their full potential and produce high-quality yields of delicious nugs, cannabis plants have specific requirements. 

Planting your seed in the correct soil and feeding it the proper nutrients results in a healthy cultivar. A hermaphrodite marijuana plant grows out if there is poor quality soil, a weak growing medium, or not enough/too many nutrients.

  • Environmental stressors: When growing marijuana plants, you need to ensure it has the right environmental factors. They thrive in sunlight with sufficient water, pH levels, temperatures, and air circulation.

The switch to hermaphrodite marijuana growth occurs when there’s too much moisture, air, or light. Too little heat or cannabis heat stress (too much heat) also causes huge problems for your plant.

Light cycles are instrumental in the growth of cannabis plants. Invest some time in learning about the correct light cycle for weed.

Other factors that cause a switch to cannabis hermaphrodite include pest infestation, diseases, and incorrect temperature and humidity levels.

What does a hermaphrodite weed plant look like

Hermaphrodite cannabis ends up looking like a strange hybrid plant. 

The joints of the branches contain both female and male bulbs. Spend some time searching for images, so you know what hermies look like. If you already know the differences between males and females, you’ll spot a hermie right away.

You also need to know what signs to look out for:

Cannabis hermaphrodite signs

Identifying a hermaphrodite cannabis plant is simple. 

The following characteristics present themselves:

  • When some plants begin to flower, you’ll see male and female sites. The male sites have pollen sacs, and the female sites have pistils.
  • Male pollen sacs are bare bulbs, while female bulbs grow small, slender hairs.
  • Other plants may only present hermaphrodite marijuana characteristics at the end of their blooming period. This happens when the plant is dying and tries to self-pollinate.
  • If your plant is showing signs of stress or nutrient deficiency that goes unnoticed, it’ll automatically switch over in an effort to survive. Always keep a vigilant eye on your plant and tend to its needs to spot cannabis hermaphrodite signs.
Hermie cannabis
Hermie cannabis

What to do with hermaphrodite marijuana plants

When you notice male qualities on your plant, the first thing to do is to immediately move it away from any female plants you may be growing. Once you’ve isolated the plant to prevent possible pollination, you can give it a stern snipping. 

Identify the male sections of the hermaphrodite cannabis and cut the entire branch or bud site off. Be careful not to shake the plant and cause the male site to release pollen.

Continue to monitor the plant to ensure no further male growth materializes. You can also remove the male sites with a pair of sterilized tweezers.

Other uses for hermaphrodite marijuana:

  • Pollination and feminization: If your goal is to pollinate and breed new strains, use a small paintbrush or a cotton bud (Q-tip) to transfer the pollen to your female plants.

In the same way, learn how to make feminized seeds by pollinating your cannabis crop consistently, resulting in seeds that produce an all-female crop.

  • Cannabis concentrates: Hermie pollen sacs contain THC you can extract to make fairly potent cannabis concentrates. These include hash, rosin, moon rocks, tinctures, and more. Have fun looking up various concentrates to make.

How to avoid hermaphrodite weed plants

Unless you’re planning to create a new strain, clone, or experiment with pollination, watching your beloved seeds grow into a hermaphrodite cannabis plant spells heartbreak.

To avoid this from happening, the first thing you need to do is ensure you buy seeds from reputable seed banks. Do your research and learn how to buy marijuana seeds based on genetics and THC levels.

We at Homegrown Cannabis Co. will help you avoid getting a cannabis hermaphrodite. We have a wide selection of high-quality seeds with stable genetics.

Another way to avoid hermaphroditism is to put measures in place to ensure the best environment for your crop. Refer back to the section on what causes hermaphroditism and follow the guidelines to prevent it from happening.

Hermaphrodite cannabis doesn’t occur unless there are environmental and physical stressors. Look after your precious plant, and it’ll reward you with high yields and potent buds.

FAQs on hermaphrodite cannabis

We’ve highlighted all the pertinent information regarding hermaphrodites, and these are common questions that pop up:

Can a hermaphrodite pollinate a female plant?

Yes. A hermaphrodite marijuana plant contains male pollen sacs that send pollen to surrounding female flowers. Unless your goal is pollination, isolate your hermie from the rest of your crop asap. If it pollinates your females, you’ll end up with a seeded crop.

Can you smoke hermaphrodite buds?

Yes, if you really want to. Keep in mind, though, that the buds from a hermaphrodite cannabis plant won’t be nearly as potent as buds from a female plant. You’ll still feel the effects of smoking them, but a better way to consume them is by making cannabis concentrates.

How common is hermaphroditism in cannabis?

Hermaphroditism is common, depending on certain factors. If you’ve grown your fair share of cannabis crops, chances are you’ve encountered hermaphrodite cannabis. Unfortunately, all seeds have the potential to grow into hermies. Implement and control ideal physical and environmental factors to decrease the chances of hermaphroditism.

Cannabis hermaphrodite
Cannabis hermaphrodite

To hermie or not to hermie?

Cannabis cultivation is full of ups and downs, joys and troubles, love and heartbreak. The common worldwide goal of growing cannabis is to enjoy the effects on offer. 

Unfortunately, hermaphrodite cannabis plants can prove detrimental to your goals and interfere with the rest of your crop if pollination isn’t your plan. They’re dioecious plants, producing both male and female reproductive organs.

They’ll pollinate your females, and you’ll end up with more seeds and fewer buds. While it may break your heart to get rid of a cannabis hermaphrodite plant, you need to prevent further hermaphroditism. Ensure your seeds grow up in the best, most caring environment you can give them.

Growing hermaphrodite cannabis isn’t the end of the world, and it happens to the best of us. Learn how to identify and differentiate between cannabis genders and prevent it from happening. While you’re there, browse our selection of feminized seeds to guarantee stable genetics and an all-female crop. 

About the author: Parker Curtis

Parker Curtis has around a decade of cannabis-growing experience, specialising in soil-less and hydro grows. He’s mastering outdoor, greenhouse, and indoor grows.

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