Bracts are the teardrop shaped leaves on cannabis plants. They are covered in resin glands, which contain high volumes of cannabinoids and terpenes.

In cannabis plants, the bracts are an integral part of the anatomy as they hold the ovule, or the prospective seed, which is the origin point for new plants. Wrapping round to protect the emerging seed, the bracts are teardrop shaped leaves that are densely coated with resin glands - each of which houses a different range of cannabinoids and terpenes


What are bracts in cannabis plants?


Bracts are found on female cannabis plants surrounding their reproductive organs, which includes the flowers or buds. They are small, droplet shaped leaf structures that are usually green in appearance, although this depends on the strain of cannabis, and they are densely coated in resin glands.


What do cannabis bracts do?


Bracts wrap around the reproductive organs or flowers on female cannabis plants to protect them from harm and secure the developing seed during pollination. Each bract is coated in resinous glands, which produce and store cannabinoids and terpenes, some of which are known to have medicinal or therapeutic properties.

Because bracts are so densely populated with these resinous glands, these leaf-like structures are one of the most potent components of cannabis sativa L. plants.


What is the difference between a bract and a calyx?


In cannabis plant anatomy, the bracts are situated inside the calyx, which is the first part of the flower to develop. The calyx acts almost like a protective cover during the budding phase, whereas the bracts actually house the plant's reproductive organs, including the pistil. 


Why are bracts important to growers?


Given that bracts play a vital role in the reproductive cycle of cannabis plants, it is important for cannabis cultivators to understand how to look after them, and how to ‘read’ them. Bracts enclose the female’s ovule, and after pollination a seed develops inside. When the plant is ready to be harvested, the bracts often become swollen and resinous, especially when containing a seed.


Do all female cannabis plants produce seeds?


No, only female plants that have been pollinated by a male will produce seeds. Seed production is actually mostly seen as a negative when cultivating cannabis for cannabinoid and terpene production, as it diverts energy away from developing buds and can lead to lower levels of trichomes, where the therapeutic compounds are formed. 

Females are usually only exposed to male pollen in the breeding process, when new strains or seeds are being created.

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