In the context of cannabis cultivation, pollen refers to the fine, powdery microgametophytes produced by male cannabis plants. Pollen is crucial for the reproduction of cannabis plants as it carries the male genetic information needed to fertilize female plants, leading to the production of seeds.
Production and Role in Reproduction
Male cannabis plants produce pollen sacs that, when mature, release pollen into the air. If this pollen comes into contact with the pistils (the hair-like structures on the buds) of a female cannabis plant, it triggers the process of fertilization. This results in the female plant producing seeds, allowing for the propagation of the species.
Significance in Cultivation
In cannabis cultivation, the presence of pollen is often undesirable, especially in environments where the goal is to produce seedless, or “sinsemilla,” cannabis flowers, which are generally preferred for their higher potency and smoother smoke. To prevent accidental pollination, growers often separate male and female plants as soon as their sex can be determined.
However, pollen is essential for breeders who are looking to create new strains of cannabis. By carefully controlling which plants pollinate others, breeders can combine the desirable traits of different strains, resulting in new, unique hybrids.
Storage and Handling
Cannabis pollen can be collected and stored for future use. It should be kept in a cool, dry place and can be stored in the freezer for long-term preservation. When handling cannabis pollen, it’s important to take precautions to prevent accidental spread, as even a small amount of pollen can potentially fertilize female plants.
While often overlooked in discussions of cannabis, pollen plays a crucial role in the life cycle of the plant and in the creation of new cannabis strains. Understanding its role can be beneficial for both casual growers and professional breeders.