So, what makes this plant so special you might ask?
While the female cannabis plants are notorious for their mind-altering capabilities, hemp gains its fame in a more subtle way. It’s the botanical makeup of the hemp plant that tells its tale of why it’s so revered.
Some say that the hemp plant is one of the oldest cultivated crops and dates back thousands of years and across countless civilizations across the globe. The plant is multi-faceted with several applications and has been a foundational pillar of cultures throughout history.
Worldwide, there is much attention focused on the therapeutic and holistic benefits of CBD from the World Health Organization (WHO) to the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) and this has all fueled the fire of digging in deeper to best understand the natural benefits of hemp in treating a host of health issues for humans and animals.
What’s even more interesting is that it’s been illegal for nearly a century but is making a well-deserved comeback with massive popularity.
At High Falls Hemp NY, we believe it’s essential to feed your mind, body, and soul.
Part of that feeding is nurturing your mind and that includes a responsibility to make sure we educate you about all you should know if you are interested in CBD as an alternative solution.
Whether it’s merely education, for your reference in starting a CBD business, using CBD, or becoming a distributor, we are here to hold your hand and help you learn more.
The Botany of the Hemp Plant
The cannabis plant consists of the stalk, node, the fan leaf and the flower that is all born from the hemp seed. Hemp’s therapeutic properties perfuse through the stalks and then the leaves. However, the highest concentration of cannabidiol, CBD, is within the roughage. Use of the leaves for medicinal purposes came well before modern medicine.
Bhang, an ancient beverage from India was quite popular for festivals, medicinal and religious uses. The region where Bhang started still has hemp plants growing in the wild. In 2014, there was a resurgence of interest in the hemp plant which has driven demand, cultivation, and research globally.
The most coveted characteristic is the hemp plant’s CBD rich flowers and leaves. Read on to understand each component of our beloved hemp plant.
Hemp Plant 101 – Parts of the Hemp Plant
This awesome process begins with a seed in the ground that grows into a majestic plant. Can you believe that they say the hemp plant has over 25,000 applications! But, in order to get to this part, it’s important to understand each component of the plant:
The Hemp Seed
A hemp plant starts off just like any other plant – as a seed. The seed is actually a nut and within that nut is everything that is required for its birth to begin and blossom. Within the hemp seed is its root which is a thin endosperm with two cotyledons that contain the embryonic initial leaves that appear following germination. In between the two cotyledons is the apical lip which is where the hemp plant continues its growth after it sprouts.
The Hemp Stalk
The hemp stalk supports the plant as it continues to mature and grow. This stalk is usually hollow and is an integral component of the plant’s growth. The stalk houses the hemp plant’s vascular system and is the highway for the transference of essential nutrients and moisture throughout the plant’s roots all the way to its leaves. It also transports necessary sugars and starches throughout the process, like all plants, of photosynthesis.
On the outer part of the hollow center of the hemp stalk, you can find a layer made up of a thick woody layer of hard cells.
Outside of that layer is the cambium. The cambium cells mature into bast which is processed for fiber. The outer part of that stalk is divided into nodes and lateral branches originate from here. Nodes are the part of the hemp plant that contains a high concentration of hormones produced in the plant.
The Hemp Leaves
The leaves of the hemp plant are usually long and slim and are easily distinguished from their appearance. They often grow in pairs from the main stem and its branches. These are similar in appearance to marijuana leaves but are differentiated by their slender, lengthy shape.
As is the case with almost all plants, the leaves of the hemp plant have an intrinsic role in the botany of the plant and are fundamental and essential to the process of photosynthesis. The leaves of the hemp plant, like in most plants, is where light is soaked up and then transferred internally throughout the plant by the phloem which is the living tissue in a vascular plant. It transports the organic compounds throughout the various components of the plant where they are most needed.
The very last part of the plant to blossom are its flowers that are produced. On the hemp plant, these are usually towards the top part of the plant and often referred to as colas. The highest concentration of CBD and other cannabinoids are found in the flowers and these are typically sticky and
The last part of the hemp plant to grow are the beautiful flowers it produces. They are typically concentrated towards the top of the hemp plant and are sometimes referred to as colas. Hemp flowers are where the highest concentrations of CBD and other cannabinoids are contained and are known to be extremely gelatinous and sticky. The flower of the hemp plant is quite complex as well with a host of different parts.
The calyx is the first part of the flower that is formed when a young plant enters its flowering stage if it is indeed a plant that is capable of flowering of course. In a perfect spiraling Fibonacci sequence, the plant quickly and in the most efficient way forms a protective platform consisting of small leaves, which are called the sepals. This protective platform for the flower in its entirety is called the calyx.
The calyx is designed to protect the plant’s reproductive organs in between the sepals and provide the flower with a base of stability. Even though all flowering male and female plants have calyxes, it is when looking at cannabis plants specifically, that only the calyxes of the female plants are of interest to the aspiring cannabis grower.
When cultivating cannabis, the objective is to harvest robust, large colas of which the calyxes are a part.
Not just any ordinary part, but the most important part, because the calyxes are where you find the reproductive organs of the plant, called the pistils, and the trichomes.
The pistils are where you see the long hairs coming from; these hairs are called stigmas. The stigmas will start out white when the plant is still in its early flowering stage but will turn amber or yellow, and ultimately brown, as the plant progresses through its flowering stage. The trichomes are the resin glands where the cannabinoids are formed, including the psychoactive and more familiar THC.
The pistils are where you see the long hairs coming from; these hairs are called stigmas. The stigmas will start out white when the plant is still in its early flowering stage, but will turn amber or yellow, and ultimately brown, as the plant progresses through its flowering stage. The trichomes are the resin glands where the cannabinoids are formed, including the psychoactive and more familiar THC.
The stigmas or long hairs can help a grower identify when a plant is ready to be harvested. In the first weeks a female cannabis flower or bud is formed, it will have long white hairs coming out if it. After 4 to 5 weeks the stigmas will start to turn yellowish. When about 50 to 80 percent of your plants’ buds stigmas have turned yellow or amber, they are ready to be harvested. If you harvest later, the stigmas will turn brown and dry out so you do not want to wait too long to harvest a cannabis plant or the buds will lose their potency and taste.
In fact, most of the cannabinoids are formed in the pistils and the calyxes of the cannabis plant. This is the flower part of the plant that will eventually be harvested, dried, and cured and ultimately will be ready for consumption.
Another way to recognize high-quality CBD flowers is to examine the number of trichomes on the flower’s surface.
Trichomes are the set of fine crystalline hairs with bulbous heads on mature flowers and leaves that aren’t always immediately visible to the naked eye.
Under closer examination, the trichomes look like resinous beads and give mature flowers a feeling of stickiness.
CBD hemp flowers which are densely packed with ripe trichomes and have a “frosty” look indicate they are potent and are of high-quality.
The trichomes are the part of the plant that produces THC, CBD, and other cannabinoids. In addition to producing such cannabinoids, trichomes produce the resin. They are also responsible for the storage of essential oils and terpenes which are special compounds that give CBD flowers its aroma and flavor.
Trichomes begin to appear on cannabis as soon as the plants enter their flowering stage, toward the end of the lifecycle and just before the buds are ready for harvest. As the plant’s buds begin to appear, trichomes also start to form along the stalk, the leaves, and the buds. Growers need to be careful when handling marijuana plants during the flowering stage, as trichomes are volatile and can be degraded by physical contact, as well as heat, light, and oxygen.
Because they are filled with resin, when trichomes break, they release the sticky oil inside. This is what gives some marijuana buds their stickiness. The more trichomes there are, the more resin they will release when handled roughly.
Compared to the rest of the cannabis plant, trichomes contain a much higher concentration of; cannabinoids, terpenes, and flavonoids.
On the cannabis plant, there are three types of trichomes:
- Bulbous – The smallest of the three types, these trichomes are nearly invisible to the naked eye. They appear on the surface of the entire plant and are as small as 10-15 micrometers. While bulbous trichomes do contain cannabinoids and other compounds, their tiny size limits their capacity.
- Capitate-sessile – These trichomes are the next largest group. They are slightly larger than bulbous trichomes and are significantly more abundant. Capitate sessile trichomes start to take on the more familiar head-and-stalk or mushroom-like shape.
- Capitate-stalked– This is the largest trichome found on the cannabis plant. The trichomes appear during the flowering phase and form the protective outer layer of small leaves that surround new buds. Capitate-stalked glands consist of a tier of secretory disc cells subtending a large non-cellular secretory cavity. These types of trichomes are the elements that cannabis growers look for when harvesting a crop because they produce the highest concentrations of cannabis-unique chemical compounds. Male plants have smaller and less concentrated capitate-stalked glands than female plants.
The resin that the trichomes produce protects the flowers of the hemp plant from the ultraviolet rays of the sun, loss of water, insects, and other predators in the environment. Think of the trichome as a defense system for the hemp plant.