Understanding the Purpose of Cannabis Pistils

cannabis pistils

Cannabis growers who can identify male from female plants and the many different parts of the plant will find themselves more knowledgeable when it comes to cannabis cultivation. There are a lot of parts and concepts that every cannabis grower should know about the plant. One such part is the cannabis pistils and its significance to the overall growth of the plant as well as how the plants form flowers and reproduce.

In this article, you’ll know the importance of cannabis pistils, its role in the reproduction of the plant, why every grower should know how to distinguish between male and female, and how it affects the overall growth and resulting yield of your crops.

What Are Cannabis Pistils?

Simply put, pistils are the female reproductive organ of the cannabis plant. It is normally described as a protrusion coming out from the flower. The reason why it has a protruded structure is it allows the flower to capture pollen released by the male plants through their pollen sacs. When the pistils receive the pollen, they are fertilized and start creating seeds; thus, the process of reproduction begins.

In cannabis cultivation, your main focus as a grower is to prevent pistils from being exposed to pollen. When female cannabis is exposed to pollen and is fertilized to produce seeds, they become less potent, and often, they drop in quality. This is the reason why growers always prevent this from happening; hence the identification of male plants from the female ones is an important skill that every grower should know.

Identifying male from female plants takes time as the plants will need to develop their structures first. Photoperiod seeds tend to last around 3 to 6 weeks after germination before they can be identified. Regular seeds are often identified before the flowering period and are removed immediately before they cause issues with the female plants.

Pistils poke out from the young cannabis plant early on, and one can immediately distinguish a male from a female plant just by looking at the structure that protrudes from the plant. Most of the time, they are obvious enough to see, and there are times that they are very difficult to distinguish. If you see a green hair-like growth on the stem, there is a high chance that the plant is female. You should see a ball-like structure without any hair growth to identify it as male.

Some strains of cannabis take around 8 weeks within their vegetative stage before they are properly identified and segregated. However, it takes around an average of 4 to 6 weeks of growth for growers to fully identify the male from the female plants and start removing them from the vicinity.

Understanding the Purpose of Cannabis Pistils And Its Importance

Apart from the very crucial identification of male and female cannabis plants, it is also very important for cannabis growers to identify when to harvest the buds based on the color of the pistils. Pistils change their color throughout the entire flowering stage. They often start as greenish to whitish colored pistils and turn orange, red, or as dark as brown when they are near maturity. By the time the pistils have turned to a darker color, it is the right time for growers to harvest those special buds.

Growers who tend to auto-flowering strains also have a different method in cultivating such strains. Autoflowering strains tend to grow faster than other types of cannabis plants. These plants develop pistils around 2 weeks after germination. Around that time, they also develop the same white pistils, and in a few days to 2 weeks, the pistils rapidly change their color from white to different shades of orange and red. This should signal the grower that it is time to harvest the buds.

While cannabis pistils are a great tool to determine whether your plants are ready for harvest, it is also affected by many factors. Heat and lighting play a huge role in the development of the pistils. The temperature has a significant presence in cannabis cultivation. This is the reason why cannabis should always be cultivated in areas with a stable climate.

The uneven temperature at the top and bottom can cause stress to the plant. This can result in having an intersex. Intersex plants are plants that were identified as female plants suddenly develop male organs; thus, self-pollination happens. This is a very difficult situation for any grower as it can spread across all of your crops and pollinate every female plant that you have without you noticing it.

Another factor that plays an essential role in the pistils of the cannabis plant is lighting. Even lighting prevents buds from being stressed out; hence they follow their intended growth pattern. This is very crucial, especially for photoperiod plants during the flowering stage. This is the time when the plants are very vulnerable to external factors that any form of stress could lead them to become intersex plants. Removing these factors should be the top priority of any grower.

While buds that were developed under stress can still be harvested and consumed by smokers, it has a much lower quality and sometimes less potent than the ones that were harvested under the right conditions.

Now that you know the perfect conditions determine the male and female plants as well as identify the perfect time to harvest the buds through the color of the pistils, it is always best to harvest them immediately. Delaying the harvest could also be detrimental to your overall yield and the quality of the high that the buds produce. If you further extend the flowering period of your plants, you might risk the pistils to turn dark brown and dry out, which results in a much lower quality. Research more on the different strains of cannabis for you to find out the different flowering periods of each strain.


Cannabis pistils are an essential part of the cannabis plant. Growers should know how to identify the male and female plants by identifying the pistils from the pollen sacs. With that in mind, cannabis pistils are also integral in determining the proper time to harvest the buds to make sure they are top-shelf quality.

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