Ask Ed: Questions and Answers – Hermaphroditism

My NYC Diesel plant is in the 3rd week of flowering and is a hermaphrodite. In almost all of the flowering tips, there are one or two little male flowers growing. I have a few other all female plants that I have separated from the hermie by moving them to another closet at the other end of my apartment.

Was it something I did that caused this amazingly beautiful female to turn hermaphrodite? Is there something I can do to prevent this from happening again? Can I pick off the male flowers with tweezers and salvage the female flowers? Will the other plants be safe from the hermie pollen? The hermie was my first choice for a mother plant until I noticed the little footballs. Can I get female clones out of it? Should I self-pollinate it for seeds? What should I do with the hermie?

– Nick, Toronto, ON, Canada

There is no hermaphroditism problem with the other plants that you are growing. This is an indication that it wasn’t the environment or your care. The plant that turned probably had a genetic propensity to hermaphroditism. There was nothing that you could have done to prevent it.

You can try picking the male flowers off the plant but your attempts may be in vain for several reasons: First, the buds are not very noticeable. They hang down from the plant looking somewhat like green pawnbroker’s balls. The white to creamy five petal flowers are noticeable only as they turn up and open, ready to release pollen to the wind. It’s difficult to find them all before they open. One or two open flowers will produce a few seeds, but a group can ruin good sinsemilla.

Male flowers ripen continuously over a period of 10-15 days so the plant must be inspected daily. The one time that you miss the inspection is probably the day when the most flowers will open. Hermaphrodites take many forms. Your plant has a few male flowers on each branch. Sometimes there is a whole branch of male flowers.

The pollen will not spread from a closet on one side of the apartment to a closet on the other side unless you help to carry it from one space to another. To prevent this, NEVER visit your hermaphrodite before going to the other garden.

Hermaphrodites are not desirable candidates as either clone mothers or for breeding because they carry a genetic characteristic for hermaphroditism. The clones will bear male flowers. Crosses with pure females will result either in a mix of females and hermaphrodites or all hermaphrodites depending on whether the hermaphrodite has the characteristic on only one or both of the paired chromosomes.

I would probably dump the plant and use the light for better specimens. The plant is essentially a mule; it’s not going to be used for reproduction and the chance of at least some of the buds being ruined is high. I don’t think it’s worth the effort or frustration.

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Comments

2 Comments

  1. Lab Monkey on

    If your only intent is to smoke the plant, yes it sucks. But, maybe it has a unique cannabinoid profile that creating other products could be desirable and seeds would not be an issue. Hash, keif, cannabis infused butter, oils, etc. Non of these require sensi! Pollen is a manageable “problem”. Just my 2 cents… http://wp.me/pJR5Y-12x

  2. bhonze on

    I would kill them! I had some beautiful plants that started the same flowering and then having male flowers. I tried to pull all the male flowers off and let it finish but the smoke was awful, just a waste of time and most of the seeds will have hermi genes.