The history of marijuana use reaches back farther than many would guess. Cultivation of the plant dates back thousands of years. The first written account of cannabis cultivation (ostensibly used as medical marijuana) is found in Chinese records dating from the 28th century B.C.E. And a nearly 3,000-year-old Egyptian mummy contained traces of THC, the main psychoactive chemical in marijuana, as well as other drugs.
Buying Cannabis Flowers is perhaps the most good idea of how to start consuming. Pictures of the ubiquitous, green cannabis leaf show up in the news media, textbooks and drug-prevention literature. Its shape is made into jewelry, plastered on bumper stickers and clothing, and spray-painted on walls. The leaves are arranged palmately, radiating from a common center, like the fingers of a hand spreading apart. Although most people know what the cannabis plant looks like, they may know very little about its horticulture.
Believed to be a native plant of India, Cannabis sativa possibly originated in a region just north of the Himalayas. It’s an herbaceous annual that can grow to a height of 8-12 feet (4 to 5.4 meters), with reports as high as 20 and 25 feet (the indica variety tends to be squatter). The plant has flowers that bloom from late summer to mid-fall, when grown outdoors. Of course, plenty of people grow cannabis indoors, too. (See How Grow Houses Work for more information.) Cannabis plants usually have one of two types of flowers, male or female, and some plants have both. Male flowers grow in elongated clusters along the leaves and turn yellow and die after blossoming. Female flowers grow in spike-like clusters and remain dark green for a month after blossoming, until the seed ripens. Hashish, which is more potent than marijuana, is made from the resin of the cannabis flowers. As we mentioned, marijuana plants contain hundreds of chemicals, 109 of which fit into a category called cannabinoids. THC, of course, is one of these cannabinoids, and it’s the chemical most often associated with the effects that marijuana has on the brain. The concentration of THC and other cannabinoids varies depending on growing conditions, plant genetics and processing after harvest. You’ll learn more about the potency of THC and the toxicity of marijuana next.
Why is Weed Called Flower?
The dense collection of flowers at the top of the female cannabis plant is known as the cola. Growers have developed methods such as topping and low-stress training to grow multiple main colas within a single plant to increase their yield. The “flower” sold at your local dispensary refers to dried colas of unfertilized female flowers. Flowers develop in both male and female cannabis plants and each sex has distinctive characteristics.
A single cannabis flower is made up of several elements:
- A pistil, composed of two stigmas(pollen-catching, hair-like growths) attached to an ovule. If pollinated, the ovule is the part of the flower that produces a seed.
- The calyx is the translucent layer of cells that partially covers the ovule. In other plants, calyxes are more developed and pronounced. Many use this term incorrectly when referring to the cannabis plant’s bracts.
- The teardrop-shaped leaves that encapsulate the ovules are known as bracts. Bracts contain the highest concentration of resin-producing trichomes.
- Trichomes produce the resin responsible for the cannabinoids and terpenes that give cannabis its psychoactive and medicinal properties.
Male cannabis flowers contain pollen. When pollen from the male plant fertilizes the female reproductive organs, the female flower will produce a seed. Seeds are desirable when breeding new strains, but not desirable for smokable flower. For this reason, growers remove male plants as soon as the begin to reveal their sex traits in the pre-flowering stage. Male preflowers display “staminate primordia” which look like clusters of grapes or bananas. It’s important to remove male plants before they mature and release pollen.
Marijuana flower or bud is technically a dried and cured cluster, or cola, of several unfertilized female flowers. While it’s easy to get hung up on botanical terminology, it’s safe to say that flower is an appropriate term for the green stuff in your bong.
What is a Flower?
- “the specialized part of an angiospermous plant that occurs singly or in clusters, possesses whorls of often colorful petals or sepals, and bears the reproductive structures (such as stamens or pistils) involved in the development of seeds and fruit.”
- “a cluster of small flowers growing closely together that resembles and is often viewed as a single flower.”
- “a plant grown or valued for its flowers.”
- “a cut stem of a plant with its flower.”
The cannabis plant is a dioecious flowering annual whose resinous clusters are harvested and trimmed at peak floral stage and thus neatly fits the definition of a flower.
Weeds Vs. Flowers: What’s The Difference?
For the novice gardener, the difference between a weed and a flower might be nothing more than whether or not the plant is wanted in the garden. With that basic distinction, many plants that are actually defined as weeds find their place in gardens because they have a flowery appearance. On the other hand, many weeds torment flower beds and removing them is an annoying chore for many a gardener. From a more scientific perspective, however, weeds aren’t all that bad. Here is a basic guide to identifying these plants in your home garden:
Weeds often spread quickly, but do not cause a threat to native plants in the area. Therefore, weeds are not necessarily invasive plants. Even though some weedy plants won’t necessarily disrupt your flower bed, they can take away from the aesthetic you’re trying to present. Weedy plants can be divided into three main categories: broadleaf weeds, lawn weeds and grass-like weeds. Common weeds include crabgrass, poison ivy and prickly lettuce.
Invasive plants, all of which are weeds, are the real headache for gardeners. An invasive species can quickly spread, dominate the landscape and harm native species of plants in the area. Invasive plants are particularly hard to kill because they can grow rapidly, produce many seeds, disperse seeds over a wide geographical area, have a lack of natural predators and germinate quickly, according to the Chicago Tribune. These plants can be a challenge for the average gardener, causing the continual need to clean up flower beds. Invasive plants can be nearly impossible to contain. Examples of invasive species include buckthorn, honeysuckle and hogweed.
Flowers are, of course, desirable in your garden. Also known as the bloom or blossom of a plant, flowers are the reproductive center of the overall organism. A garden is a celebrated center for flowers, but remember that some weeds flower as well. Dandelions and sowthistles are two of the most common types of these weeds. For some, these weedy flowers might not make a difference to the overall appearance of the garden, but they can take resources away from your other plants. Eliminating all weeds from your lawn and garden is the best way to make sure your desired plant life stays healthy. Wildflowers are also at times mistaken for weeds. Accounts of the rarity of wildflowers varies, so research the native flowers in your lawn or garden to make sure it is not endangered in the area before killing it. Endangered flowers are often listed by state.
Weeds are often a sign that something is wrong in the soil, such as over-acidity or uneven watering. Use the weeds in your garden to identify any problems in the soil that can easily be fixed. Your lawn or garden might just need to be fertilized. However, enriching the soil can be challenging. If needed, herbicides can be found in any neighborhood garden center, but be careful when spraying weeds to isolate the area. Herbicides can have a harmful effect on other plants in your garden. To avoid hurting your flowers, there’s always the old fashioned method of weeding by hand. Digging out weeds by the roots will ensure the undesired plant does not return. When removing weeds by hand remember to wear gloves, as many of these plants are poisonous or can cause an itch.
The best method for preventing weeds is maintaining a dense and healthy lawn. Make sure to properly take care of your soil to keep away these pesky plants.