Life Cycle & Reproduction
Like all vascular plants, the Sporophyte or the Diploid generation (what we think of the plant itself) is the predominant stage the organism spends its life in. Also, the Gametophytes or haploid generation (pollen and eggs) are completely dependent on the Sporophyte for nutrition and shelter.
In one sense marijuana plants are like people, because they have separate sexes. There are male plants that produce pollen and female plants that produce eggs and seeds. Male plants contain the anther (pollen producing/containing organ) and the filament hair-like stalk the anther rests on. On the female plants you will find a stigma (a sticky bulb found in the middle of flowers that will “catch” the pollen), the style (a stalk the stigma rests on), the pistol (a tube leading to the ovary), the ovary (the part of the plant that houses the seeds and will become the “bud” containing high densities of Delta 9 tetrahydrocannabinol or THC), and lastly, the ovule which will become the seeds. Although most plants are either male or female, some marijuana plants will possess both sets of organs. These plants are referred to as Hermaphrodites.
Pollen is distributed primarily by the wind. This is unlike many other flowering plants that have another organism transport the pollen to the opposite mating type for them, like bees. This makes it very important for the females to catch any pollen that comes their way, because the female plants are at the mercy of the wind. Marijuana plants coat special parts of themselves in a resin to give pollen something to stick to.
Once a female plant comes in contact with pollen, the pollen goes down the pistol to the ovary where it fertilizes the female sex cell, the ovule. The ovule will become a seed with a full set of genetic material, half from the female plant and half from the male plant, like a human embryo. Living outdoors in the wild, a marijuana plant can go from a seed to ready to harvest and reproductive maturity in six to nine months. Indoors, an entire life cycle from seed to reproductive maturity and ready to harvest only takes 90 days.
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Ever wondered what consumes marijuana besides people? Check out its interactions page.