The cannabis plant is so much more than just the bud or flower.

Maybe you don’t care. And that’s okay. Not everyone is an enterprising gardener, aspiring cannabis grower, or just of the inquiring-minded sort.

If you are interested, however, we’ve got this quick little tutorial on parts of the cannabis plant. (And even if you’re not terribly interested, you might just learn something that you can share in your next smoke sesh…)


Just as in the vast majority of plants, cannabis seeds are produced in female cannabis plants. They possess the genetics of a male and female. Once they germinate and sprout, they’ll grow the taproot which will be the anchor of the plant.

Cotyledon Leaves

These are those first cute little leaves that grow from the seed after it has been germinated. They typically come in pairs and herald that you’re on your way to a full-on cannabis plant.


We’ll assume you know what roots are. As mentioned above, the cannabis plant has a main root known as the tap root that shoots straight down and pulls up the lion’s share of water and oxygen.


The stalk or stem grows straight up from the root system. Like the trunk of a tree, it supports all the lateral branches that come off it. In an attempt to make the plant grow out more laterally (and subsequently create more bud sites), growers will often cut off the stem after about five nodes (branch sites).


Again, just like trees, branches grow out of the main stem. They support the buds and the familiar fan leaves that have become the icon for pot-smoking.


A node is any place where a branch grows off the main stalk, OR where a branch grows off from another branch. The space between nodes gives a sense of how tall a plant will grow.

Some but not all nodes are able to host fan leaves and buds. The pre-flowers that appear at the nodes are crucial for growers when determining the sex of the plant.

Fan Leaves

Aside from adorning millions of t-shirts and stickers in its graphic form, the iconic fan leaves capture light for the plant. Which is a big deal. Nevertheless, they produce little to no resin and are therefore discarded when trimming.

Sugar Leaves

By contrast, sugar leaves are small and coated with resin. The buds form around these sugar leaves. As such, they are saved during harvest and often used for extracts, pre-rolls, and other cannabis products.


You likely know this one already. The flowers are the notorious buds. They are where the cannabinoids and terpenes reside. And they only grow on female plants. (Go women!)


If you’ve come upon a cluster of buds growing tightly together, you’ve found a cola. Small colas grow along the budding sites on lower branches, but the big Kahuna cola that forms at the top of the plant is called the apical bud. (As cannabis marketing experts, we feel that Big Kahuna cola could have a real future.)

Bract and Calyx

A bract is what encapsulates The female’s reproductive parts are encapsulated by green tear-shaped leaves called the bract. Although small, the resin glands on the bract produce the highest concentration of cannabinoids in the entire plant. So there.

Meanwhile, the calyx is the layer over the ovule at the base of the flower. It’s imperceptible to the human eye. But that doesn’t mean it’s not important.

Stigma and Pistil

The pistil is where the reproductive parts of the flower reside, and the hair-like strands coming from it are the stigmas. They collect pollen from the male plants. The stigmas change color throughout the plant’s life and while they’re crucial for reproduction, they don’t offer much to the flower’s taste or potency.


And finally, the blanket of crystal resin on the cannabis bud is made up of tiny trichomes. They may be minute, but they’re badass. Not only do they protect the plant against predators and the elements, but they contain terpenes and cannabinoids such as CBD and, yeah, THC.

Now You’re Educated on Parts of the Cannabis Plant

That’s it, in a nutshell.

All of the above parts of the cannabis plant play an important role in creating the flower bud that so often makes your day. Even if it doesn’t seem that way. So thank your lucky stars for the miracle that is the cannabis plant.

And in the meantime, for more mind-titillating articles like this one, keep checking back to our blog!