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male versus female cannabis plants, how to sex a cannabis plant
The anthers on a male cannabis plant.

An anther is a botanical term that refers to the oval-shaped sac that forms at the end of a male flower’s stamen. Anthers are sometimes referred to as “bananas” due to their shape. The anther produces, stores, and later releases pollen which can either travel naturally via air or collected by a breeder who will introduce the pollen to a selected female plant. 

“I could tell I had a male plant based on the formation of anthers.”

“I took the pollen from the anthers of the OG Kush male.”

What is an anther?

An anther refers to the sac at the end of a stamen which produces, stores, and releases pollen. Due to their long shape, they are sometimes called “bananas.” Male cannabis plants develop anthers, though these pollen sacs may also appear on female plants, often after being exposed to environmental stress or due to genetics. These cannabis plants, called hermaphrodites, develop both stamens and female pistils. If a cannabis breeder finds that a female plant begins to form anthers, it is typically removed from the other female plants as quickly as possible to avoid pollinating other plants, which would result in seeded buds.

What do anthers look like?

Anthers are long, oval-shaped sacs that come to a point, hence the nickname “bananas.” A plant may produce several anthers near the center of the flower, and they may be a range of colors, including yellow, green, and red. It takes time for the cannabis plant to mature and form anthers, and cultivators typically must wait 3-6 weeks before a young, vegetative plant begins to form sex organs. 

What do anthers do?

The primary function of anthers is to produce, store, and deliver pollen. Because cannabis is a dioecious plant, female or male reproductive organs generally appear on different plants (though cannabis may also develop both on the same plant). The large, resinous buds we enjoy for consumption are female.

Breeders and cultivators must be able to tell the difference between male and female plants; if a male pollinates a female, the female will develop seeds. Once a female seeds, its buds will slow down in growth and resin production, and the final harvested buds will contain seeds.

The pollen produced by anthers can be collected and introduced to select female plants for breeding, allowing breeders to create new crossbreed varieties of cannabis. This is why there are so many different strains of cannabis available today.