Cannabis is one weird-looking plant. Unique in its beauty and intoxicating aroma, female cannabis flowers grow long, glistening colas that look a little like an alien object. Though the herb may look like something from out of this world, principles of basic botany still apply. Here’s the scoop on the cannabis calyx, the most resinous part of the plant.
What are cannabis calyxes?
The calyx is the first part of a flower that forms. It is made up of a collection of small leaves that form in a spiral near where the flower meets the stem, and is made up of sepals, which are tiny leaves that protect the flower at its base.
The calyx is basically the base of the flower that holds everything together. It provides stability to the flower and creates a protective cocoon for the plant’s reproductive organs.
All flowering plants have calyxes, but the calyxes of female cannabis plants are coveted commodities.
Where does the calyx fit in?
The calyx is part of the bud, which may, in turn, be a part of the much larger cola. The calyx holds many of the most important plant parts, including:
- Pistils: The reproductive organs of the plant, including the long hairs called stigmas
- Trichomes: The resin glands that provide cannabinoids, including psychoactive THC
The pistils and the calyx are most cannabinoid-dense parts of the plant. Resin is highly concentrated in the calyx and pistil, so this area of the plant that is harvested and sold as cannabis bud.
The calyx is what holds all of the juicy parts of the bud in one nice, neat package.
Calyxes are easy to spot in developing plants. When a sprout begins to develop tiny flowers, the presence of a calyx with a long, white pistillate hair will indicate the sex of the plant.
Female buds will always produce a long white hair. Male plants, on the other hand, will develop small, pollen sacks that will eventually dangle downward.
Anyone who wants to make quick work out of trimming will enjoy strains with high calyx-to-leaf ratios. That is, there are more trichome-coated calyx sepals than long sugar leaves on the cannabis flower.
Sugar leaves surround and pop out in between the calyxes. The calyx is where cannabis resin glands are secreted and produced in abundance. Like the calyx proper, sugar leaves are coated with ample trichomes.
However, cannabis resin is heavily concentrated in the calyx, making it the top choices for consumption.
Most bud sold in dispensaries have had the sugar leaves trimmed off, better exposing the calyxes and pistils. If you plan on trimming an awful lot of cannabis, choosing a strain with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio may save time and your hands.
Trimmings can be saved to use in extractions, edibles, topicals, or just as a quick smoke. Sugar leaves are often laden with trichomes, which would be a shame to waste.
Some strains with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio include: