We don’t often consider many of cannabis’s qualities while enjoying our daily smoke. The subtle differences flower to flower are discussed but left out are the origins of the flowers themselves.
Every bowl or joint starts with a single seed, these often discarded treasure chests have trapped inside endless combinations of genetic differences. Cannabis is one of the most diverse species known to man and can be found growing around the world, it is in a class of its own with its closest living relative being hops. It is dioecious, meaning that each plant has a defined sex of either male or female. Each subspecies of cannabis has developed unique traits over time due to variables present in their environment. Each isolated group over time develops characteristics, through passed on genes, that are favorable to it’s location to ensure it’s progenies vitality and survival.
Flowering induction is strain dependent based on an increased in night hours. Once the cycle has begun the males are typically first to produce floral clusters. Each cluster collects loosely along the branch in comparison to their female counter parts. These panicles are well ventilated ensuring the survival of the newly created stamin. The female colas are produced in toe, each female is covered in glandular trichomes to help with pollen collection and defend against pests and harmful UV rays.
Every characteristic of a plant is predetermined from conception, once the flower has undergone pollination it begins to produce seeds at each pistil site. Each seed contains a different combination of inherited traits from both the mother and father.
The seeds themselves contain personal traits of survival that can often be overlooked by today’s grower. Seeds produced by the same plant can be different shapes, weights and sizes due to both it’s position on the plant during fruiting as well as the traits it received from it’s parents. It’s dermal coating, or mottling, can provide both camouflage from hungry predators as well protection to the endosperm while in stasis before germination. In nature the warming of air currents of spring begin to warm the rain water and soil , indicating to the seeds stored below the soils surface that it is time to begin germination. In an indoor environment we mimic this by maintaining our germinating water temperature at just above room temperature. Once the seed coat is exposed to moisture the countdown has begun. The seed casing is designed by nature to only be receptive to moisture changes during this rise in temperature. This reaction can be lost over time in old or improperly stored seeds.
These two photos show the difference between two cannabis seeds shape and exterior.
If you are in possession of rare seeds and you would like to ensure their growth, there are a few things that you can do to better their odds of survival:
Water is essential to plant life and needs to reach the endosperm to initiate germination. We can aid this process by carefully removing a portion of the outside shell using a fine, clean blade. You must be delicate when making this incision to ensure that the embryo inside is left undamaged.
If you are afraid to slice into your only seeds there is a safer less sure fire way to ensure water reaches the inside of your seeds called scuffing. To scuff your seeds you need a rough grain sandpaper. Put your sandpaper inside a small box with your seeds and shake it from side to side for a moment, this action puts small grooves on the seeds outer surface making germination much easier.
Once the endosperm has been exposed it’s chances of survival depend on your ability to keep it moist. If your seed is left to dry at any time during this process the embryo will die. To help ensure a steady germination try pre soaking your seeds in an diluted aerated compost tea for 24 hours before planting or moving to a paper towel for further germination.
I have found that the addition of gravity to the germination process helps to speed up root growth once the taproot ruptures the seed and grows into the medium. Planting the seed into soil once it has an emerged radical would be preferred, but if you insist on moving to a paper towel then be sure to not leave the towel flat in standing water. I will fold the seeds between a paper towel and roll it up, I then set this roll into a jar with about an inch of above room temp water inside. The paper towel will absorb the water below, the standing wick system draws the water upwards but gravity causes it to circulate throughout the towel providing the perfect environment for a root system to develop instead of a hairless taproot.
(Featured Image: ValleyRec420)
To learn more about terpenes, please read this article.