Hemp: Male vs. Female

Hemp is can be a dioecious or monoecious plant. The staminate (pollen bearing flowers) and the pistillate (seed producing flowers) are on separate plants in dioecious hemp plants, while on the monoecious plant, both male and female reproductive parts are on the same plant. The pollen bearing flowers are male while the seed producing flowers are female. As a hemp farmer, you need to identify your reason for hemp farming so that you can decide whether the staminate plants are desirable or detrimental. This is because the different functions of the hemp plant vary based on whether the hemp plants used are male or female.

Hemp fiber: for hemp fiber, male plants are more desirable because male plants produce more biomass and their leaves fall off earlier; after pollination.

Hemp Flowers: for hemp flowers, female plants are more desirable because they have higher CBD levels compared to male plants. However, it is important to note that once the female plant is pollinated, the CBD levels may be lower. When farming for CBD-rich hemp flowers, you must identify the male flowers in the field and eliminate them before pollination begins.

Hemp seeds: for hemp seeds, you need both male and female plants but there should be a smaller percentage of male plants on the field. The male plants are only intended for the pollination of the female plants so that seed production can be optimized. However, you can also use the monoecious plant for hemp seed production.

How to identify the male and female plants

Although both plants are almost identical, you can be able to tell them apart as the plants’ reproductive organs begin to reveal themselves. Hemp reproductive organs are located at the internode (the interval where the branch/leaves meet the stalk).

Male: small and round pollen sacks begin to form. The seed-like sacks are where the pollen comes from. On reaching maturity, the pollen sacks burst open and the female plants get pollinated through air pollination, male plants often produce little to no flowers and they have very low CBD levels compared to female flowers.

Female: small, pear-shaped nodes begin to form at the internodes. After a while, they produce pistils (hair-like structures). If pollination happens, the pistils catch the pollen and soon, seed production begins. Female flowers have a higher CBD levels compared to male plants.

Monoecious: a monoecious (a plant that self-pollinates) hemp plant has both female and male reproductive parts on the same plant.