How do Cannabis Seeds Work
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How do cannabis seeds work? You might not think that this is important, but knowing how seeds work can give you important insight on how to store them and what the germination profess involved. Cannabis seeds are technically small, oval-shaped dried fruit, around 3-4mm long and 1.5-2mm wide. They’re covered in a very subtle membrane, and underneath that layer there’s a much harder layer which is the largest system of the embryo, covering it and protecting it.
On the inside of the seeds you can find a substance called albumen, which is a nutritional reserve that keeps the embryo healthy until germination; it’s also the seeds initial source of energy once it begins germinating.
Now, for the center of the seed, home to the precious embryo from which your new plant will grow from. It contains the plant’s genetic code alongside four other parts; the radicle, the hypocotyl, cotyledons and gemmules. The radicle is the embryonic root; this is the part of the seed where roots come from. The hypocotyl is known as the embryonic stage, and the cotyledons are in charge of those first few leaves that you can see once the seed germinates.
Cannabis seeds, just like many other plant seeds, grow in pollinated flowers on female plants; seeds only contain the plant’s genetic code, so they don’t have any of the active principals in the plant, meaning that if you were to smoke it you wouldn’t get any sort of psychoactive or medicinal effect. They can be eaten however, as they provide an enormous amount of beneficial proteins, including Omega 3, 6 and 9. The aroma that comes from the seeds when burning isn’t pleasant at all, and if you’ve ever been smoking a joint that had a random seed in it then you know exactly what I’m talking about; they taste like some sort of burnt barbecue that ruins the taste of even the best, strongest tasting weed out there.
Germinating seeds correctly depends on different factors; the main one being how mature the seed is. Seeds that look too white, green or the skin seems to be coming off or not there at all tend to be too young still, although there are seeds of this stature that will germinate perfectly, depending on the strain. Strains like Somango, or hybrids that come from it, and Haze seeds are some of the whitest seeds you can find on the market; sativa seeds tend to be much smaller than indica seeds, like Thai seeds are generally much smaller than afghan seeds. In this case, size doesn’t matter at all; if a seed is smaller than others that doesn’t mean that it’s going to have issues germinating or that it will grow smaller plants. Smaller seeds generally have less protection, but they’re much easier to germinate. Seeds can take between 3-18 days to germinate depending on the conditions such as temperature, humidity, substrate composition etc. The longer the seeds take to germinate, the less likely that they are going to germinate. Sometimes if after a while it still hasn’t germinated, you can gently squeeze the seed to break the outer shell and if done right, you can help the root to leave the shell; if done wrong, you’ll end up completely squishing the seed and any chances of germination that it had.
During the time the seed is maturing various factors need to occur for the seed to be able to germinate in the best conditions. Seeds have a germination period of three years, which is the average time estimated that seeds can be kept in good conditions; it’s not the same to keep your seed in a fresh, dry area than in a hot and humid one. Humid areas will damage seeds, stimulating their metabolism with the humidity without stimulating germination which could even kill the seed off entirely. Water absorption is due to the water potential difference between the seed and its surroundings. Water reaches the embryo through all of the layers of the seed, which then activates the development of the radicle; once this process begins, seeds need more oxygen than water, so giving your seeds too much water might in fact “drown” them. This is why we highly recommend not germinating your seeds in glasses of water, as the oxygen-water ratio is nowhere near optimal for germination.
By lowering oxygen levels as well as temperature storage levels you can increase the life-span of your seed for up to 20 years. Another storage technique is to dehydrate the seeds around 2-5%; no more is recommended as it might affect the internal constitution of the seed. Temperature is extremely important as it regulates the activity of the enzymes during germination; during storage, temperature regulates the embryos metabolism.
Oxygen is found in nature in a concentration of about 21%; seeds tend to germinate in conditions with around 20-21% oxygen, and hardly any seeds can germinate with a lower concentration than that; the only plants that can really do that are marine plants and algae, which need 8% oxygen.
Now that you know how cannabis seeds work, you can store your babies for up to 20 years if you want to, and give them the perfect conditions in which to open up their shells and let the radicle take over growing the roots. Happy growing!
How do cannabis seeds work? Learn how to store your seeds, how long you can store them for, how to germinate them and their internal biology.
Playing with Wildfire: 5 Amazing Adaptations of Pyrophytic Plants
A blazing inferno is moving quickly in your direction. You feel the intense heat and the air is clogged with smoke. Deer, snakes, and birds flee past you, even the insects attempt to escape. You would run too if you could, but unfortunately, you are a plant. The fire begins to lick at your leaves and you wait. While no one likes the sight of a burned forest, fire is important for the functioning of a number of ecosystems and many plants are specially adapted to these fire-prone habitats. Read on to discover some of the amazing ways plants survive—and even thrive—in the face of wildfire.
Perhaps the most amazing fire adaptation is that some species actually require fire for their seeds to sprout. Some plants, such as the lodgepole pine, Eucalyptus, and Banksia, have serotinous cones or fruits that are completely sealed with resin. These cones/fruits can only open to release their seeds after the heat of a fire has physically melted the resin. Other species, including a number of shrubs and annual plants, require the chemical signals from smoke and charred plant matter to break seed dormancy. Some of these plants will only sprout in the presence of such chemicals and can remain buried in the soil seed bank for decades until a wildfire awakens them. The image shows lodgepole pine seedlings growing next to the charred remains of their parent plants following the 1988 Yellowstone National Park fires.
Some plants are able to survive wildfires due to a clever layer of thermal insulation provided by their bark, dead leaves, or moist tissues. Certain trees, including larches and giant sequoias, have incredibly thick, fire retardant bark and can be directly burned without sustaining damage to their vital tissues (though they will eventually succumb to intense fires). Other plants, such as the Australian grass tree and South African aloes (pictured) retain dense, dead leaves around their stems to serve as insulation against the heat of a wildfire. Additionally, some plants have moist tissues that provide both thermal insulation and protect against dehydration during a fire. This strategy is common in a number of Protea species which have corky tissues to protect their buds from desiccation.
Though wildfires inevitably kill and injure many organisms in their path, a number of plants have adapted to resprout if they are damaged in a blaze. Some of these resprouters, including several Eucalyptus species, have specialized buds that are protected under the bark of their trunks. When the trees are burned, these buds emerge to produce new leaves and branches. Other plants rely on underground structures for regrowth, which allows them to “come back” even if the above-ground portion has been destroyed. Some Banksia species and other shrubs have swollen stem bases or underground woody organs known as lignotubers from which new shoots can emerge. Similarly, many herbaceous plants have fleshy bulbs, rhizomes, or other types of underground stems from which green shoots rapidly develop in the wake of a fire.
To take advantage of the ash-fertilized soil, some plant species are able to flower prolifically after a fire. The Australian grass tree (pictured) is a well-known example of this adaptation. Its conspicuous flower spikes are often the first sign that the plant survived a blaze and individuals grown in greenhouses are often subjected to blowtorching to encourage flowering! Other fire-stimulated species often bloom simultaneously a few weeks after being burned, creating lush landscapes of colorful flowers. This is especially common in annual plants that emerge rapidly from the post-fire soil seed bank. Several members of the fire lily genus (Cyrtanthus) only flower after fires and have an extremely fast flowering response to natural bush fires. One species can even reach full flowering stage in just nine days following a fire!
A tall crown and few to no lower branches is a strategy a number of tree species employ to reduce wildfire damage. In keeping their leaves and vital growth tissues far above the reach of most flames, these trees can often survive a fire with only minor charring to their trunks. This adaptation is common in several pine species as well as in many Eucalyptus species. Some of these trees, such as the ponderosa pine, have even evolved a “self-pruning” mechanism and readily remove their dead branches to eliminate potential sources of fuel.
This Encyclopedia Britannica science list highlights five adaptations that allow plants to survive in fire-prone habitats.