There are many ways to distinguish cannabis plants. These plants vary in size; you can find cannabis plants under a foot tall while there are plants that can grow more than ten feet. You will find cannabis growing in cold northern regions of the planet while there are also cannabis plants that can thrive in warm, humid, almost desert-like climates. The plant’s leaves may also vary in appearance. The trademark 7-leaf design is very popular worldwide but do you know that there are other varieties of cannabis leaves?
Sensi Seeds says that cannabis leaves are the most recognizable and well-known feature of the cannabis plant. In fact, the image of cannabis leaves has been featured in many kinds of artwork for thousands of years. Despite the great degree of variation in local populations of cannabis, the leaves have not changed greatly in appearance between different varieties.
About cannabis leaf phyllotaxy
According to the standard phyllotaxy or the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem, cannabis leaves are compound leaves that have multiple leaflets. This leaf arrangement is comparable to simple cannabis as opposed to simple leaf designs. A simple leaf design is when the leaf grows from the stem of the plant. The other form is decussate-opposite rather than alternate leaf designs.
To describe opposite leaves, the leaf parts grow in pairs. This is one on each side of the stem. There is a clear vertical space found in between the leaf pairs. On the other hand, decussate leaves are opposite; however, each new leaf pair is found at a right-angle to the last pair. Alternate leaves grow from the stem in a single pattern, usually alternating sides as the leaf’s vertical height increases.
Most of the time, cannabis leaves are decussate. As the plant grows and prepares to grow flowers, the leaves may start to emerge in an alternate design. Rejuvenated cannabis plants demonstrate alternate phyllotaxy designs.
Research using hemp has shown that early-planted plants that were cultivated and flowered in low light conditions and did not suffer from disease or death, start to create new alternate leaves when the amount of sunlight was increased. The new growth was simple than a compound. And as the plant further grew, the number of leaflets also increased.
Through the years, there is some evidence that this leaflet growth phenomenon can lead to the vegetative growth of the plant and increase the strength and vigor of the plant. However, the genetic process of how this is done is still not completely understood.
Most researchers say that the evolution of opposite-decussate phyllotaxy happened comparatively recently. This could be from an alternate-leaved ancestor or when the seeds that control the decussate phyllotaxy are not present around the time of the plant’s inflorescence.
What are the leaf differences between cannabis species
Aside from looking for marijuana sativa seeds for sale, you must need to understand the differences between cannabis species. Understanding these differences will help you easily identify cannabis species. And putting aside the many eccentricities of cannabis leaf growth, take a look at the differences between the three subspecies of cannabis.
Cannabis sativa leaves are long and slender, usually with pronounced serrations. The leaves will have a jagged or spiky appearance because of the visible serrations. The color of sativa leaves is from bright, lime green to blackish-green which is the darkest sativa color. The largest sativa leaves often have up to thirteen leaflets.
Cannabis indica leaves, on the other hand, are much wider with the largest leaves having fewer leaflets compared to the largest of all the leaves of the plants usually having seven to nine leaflets. Cannabis indica leaves have deep olive-green. Usually, very light green leaves are rare and this could also mean that the plant is suffering from some kind of deficiency.
Cannabis ruderalis leaves are smaller compared to other subspecies of cannabis. This is the smallest species of all. Ruderalis leaves have comparable leaflet number. The largest leaves may contain from five to thirteen leaflets. Ruderalis plants have leaves that are closer to the indica when it comes to width, but these could be narrower than indica leaves.
Which number of leaves is better?
Cannabis leaflet number varies according to the type of cannabis or cannabis subspecies. Therefore there is no particular strain that is better than all other strains. As a grower, it’s up to you if you want to grow 5-leaf or 7-leaf cannabis but it usually boils down to the effects of a species. Sativa cannabis strains offer a stimulating and energetic high; the kind of high you wish you have during a busy day. Sativa strains are best suited for daytime use because it has a high that will keep you focused and even creative.
Meanwhile, cannabis indica strains are for people who need to relax and to reduce anxiety and stress. Indica strains will leave you sleepy to the point that you want to just sleep the day away. There are top quality indica and sativa strains available in the market today.
Some mutated patterns found in cannabis leaves
There are actually a number of observed cannabis leaf mutation patterns. These were noted by growers and breeders considering that cannabis is grown in different parts of the world. There are mutated patterns that seem to be desirable and because of this, growers try to imitate these patterns. Some traits can give a cannabis plant a completely new appearance, sometimes even looking than other garden plants. These mutated patterns can serve as a disguise so that the crop can be stealthily grown in a regular garden. You can use this to prevent unwelcome attention of law enforcement in areas where cultivation is prohibited.
Sometimes you will notice webbed leaves. This is actually very common and this is seen as a defect that most breeders would want to remove. Unfortunately, these efforts have not prevailed making webbed cannabis varieties commercially available. Another thing about webbed leaves is that in the past it was not possible to source webbed strains such as Ducksfoot in the form of seeds.
Whorled phyllotaxy is a very common mutation and this is actually less desirable when used to conceal a cannabis plant. This is because even if a plant develops this mutation, the plant will still look like cannabis. But despite being called a mutation, many growers find this trait very likable because of the appearance. There are some growers who also think that plants with whorled phyllotaxy will yield flowers with higher potency. But despite this belief, this is still not proven.
Australian Bastard Cannabis
Australian Bastard Cannabis is the most unique mutation seen in cannabis. It was named so because it was believed that this first appeared from escaped cannabis from Sydney and that growers have tried to stabilize this trait but without avail. This type of mutation is described as hairless, succulent leaflets that have no more than five leaflets in a leaf. Each leaflet does not exceed a few centimeters in length.
There are many attempts to grow cannabis that don’t look like cannabis but most of these have failed. Even experienced breeders agree that it is impossible to change the cannabis appearance and despite the number of leaflets in a leaf, cannabis will still be cannabis inside out.
Recognizing cannabis strains using leaf number
Sativa leaves usually have seven leaflets. You can easily spot sativa plants when you compare the leaf arrangement and other factors common in sativa strains. Meanwhile, cannabis indica strains have five leaflets which are definitely fewer and more distinct compared to sativa strains.
Avoiding stress, a possible cause of mutations
Some growers believe that mutations may be due to cannabis plants exposed to certain stresses. Cannabis plants are indeed very hardy plants but these can also be sensitive to different kinds of stresses. Some cannabis species can be easily affected by stress brought about by nutrients, water, light, and air. You will find cannabis that develops different leaf designs due to the application of stress. You might find leaves of different colors and shapes. Still, cannabis plants may develop leaf mutations when a young cannabis plant is transplanted to a larger pot.
When a seedling begins to grow into a more mature plant, it will spread its roots and soon develop complex root systems. Aside from this, it will also develop more leaves as evidenced by second-tier leaves. When these signs appear, the plant is ready to be transplanted from a small container or from a growing cube to a larger pot or medium. During the process of transplantation, touching or unnecessary movements of the taproot or any parts of the root could be enough to stress plants. Stress can lead to stunted growth, the development of secondary genders and changes in the plant’s leaves. This is why extra care should be done when transplanting seedlings and to avoid touching the taproot at all cost when handling plants.