swollen calyx or seed pods

Getting To Know The Cannabis Calyx, Resinous To The Top

Knowing what a calyx is and what parts the calyx is comprised of can provide the cannabis grower with tips and tools to help with a successful and easy harvest.



The calyx is the first part of the flower that is formed when a young plant enters its flowering stage, if it is indeed a plant that is capable of flowering of course. In a perfect spiraling Fibonacci sequence the plant quickly and in the most efficient way forms a protective platform comprising of small leaves, which are called the sepals. This protective platform for the flower in its entirity is called the calyx.

The calyx is designed to protect the plants reproductive organs in between the sepals and provide the flower with a base of stability. Even though all flowering male and female plants have calyxes, it is when looking at cannabis plants specifically, that only the calyxes of the female plants are of interest to the aspiring cannabis grower.

When cultivating cannabis, the objective is to harvest nice big colas of which the calyxes are a part. Not just any ordinary part, but the most important part, because the calyxes are where you find the reproductive organs of the plant, called the pistils, and the trichomes.

The pistils are where you see the long hairs coming from; these hairs are called stigmas. The stigmas will start out white when the plant is still in its early flowering stage, but will turn amber or yellow, and ultimately brown, as the plant progresses through its flowering stage. The trichomes are the resin glands where the cannabinoids are formed, including the psychoactive and more familiar THC.


The pistils are also the best tool a grower to spot the difference between the male and the female plants. It is important to recognize the male plants early on so they can be removed and any risk of pollination can be minimized or even excluded. Female plants can be recognized by their long white hairs, that will begin to form early in the flowering stages of forming the buds or colas. The male plants will have pollen sacks, that will start to dangle in a downward fashion and eventually will burst open to pollinate the female calyxes.

The stigmas or long hairs can help a grower identify when a plant is ready to be harvested. In the first weeks a female cannabis flower or bud is formed, it will have long white hairs coming out if it. After 4 to 5 weeks the stigmas will start to turn yellowish. When about 50 to 80 percent of your plants’ buds have stigmas, that have turned yellow or amber, they are ready to be harvested. If you harvest later, the stigmas will turn brown and dry out; do not wait this long to harvest your cannabis plants, as it will have your buds lose potency and taste.

In fact most of the cannabinoids are formed in the pistils and the calyxes of the cannabis plant. This is the flower part of the plant, that will eventually be harvested, dried and cured and ultimately will be ready for consumption.

The consumption part is why you do not want your female plants to be pollinated; they would start to form seeds, which are a real hassle to remove and leave a horrible taste and crackling sound when smoked. Also most of the female plants energy will be diverted into making the seeds, not swelling up the buds and forming cannabinoids.

If you intentionally aim to make your own strain of cannabis by crossing two breeds or strains, watch the calyxes of your developing plants to identify the males and females you want to use for your experiment.


When harvesting your cannabis plants, you will have to trim off the leaves to expose the buds, which then in turn can be properly dried and cured.

The big leaves, that grow lower on the plant and in between the budding areas, but not in the buds or cola’s themselves, are called fan leaves; these are basically the solar panels of the plant. These leaves provide the plant with the energy it needs to grow and form buds. The few fan leaves that remain after pruning during the flowering stage can be easily trimmed away at harvest when growing indoors. When growing outdoors, most fan leaves will still be attached to the plant at the end of the flowering stage but these can be easily removed at the time of harvesting.

There are also leaves sticking out of the buds themselves; these are called sugar leaves, because they are coated with trichomes, that look sugary white, and these are a lot harder to trim, because the high level of resin makes them very sticky. Sticky leaves mean you will have to clean your equipment more and the tools you are using will get harder to operate due to the moving parts getting stuck together.

The sugar leaves is what the calyx-to-leaf ratio is all about, it tells you how much of a hassle it is going to be to trim when harvested. Plants with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio have fewer sugar leaves, making the buds or colas easier to trim.

Sugar leaves aren’t all bad though; they can be very well used to make edibles or cannabutter, tinctures, extractions, topicals or even hashish. They can even be smoked, but because of the higher combustion temperature of the leaves the taste may be affected.

The top 5 strains with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio are:


Skunk XL is a balanced hybrid cultivar featuring 50% indica genetics and 50% sativa. Her large buds are dense with calyxes and appear snow-capped with glandular trichomes. The strain has a rich ancestry, descending from Colombian, Mexican, and Afghan landraces. She produces a stimulating effect that gradually becomes more stoning and sedating. On average, indoor plants yield 625g/m², whereas outdoor plants produce up to 675g/plant.

What are calyxes, what do they do and how can they help aspiring cannabis growers to get better and easier harvests, click here to find out more.

What does a calyx look like?

Consequently, what does a swollen calyx look like?

A swollen calyx will appear thicker than it did in the developing stages and (strain dependent) may have a seeded appearance even though not seeded . The calyx is the sheath that covers a possible seed if pollinated . In the end , most tend to look full when they are not .

Additionally, do Calyxes always swell? From what I’ve seen, the calyxes will often swell as if they’re about to produce a seed (pollinated), as if it’s preparing to go into seed. I’ve seen mine do the same thing as yours, and they shrink down some when it’s about 3/4 of the way through flowering, as the pistils start to ‘recede’ into the buds.

Moreover, what’s inside a female Calyx?

The female cannabis calyx cells are one part of the perianth, a nearly transparent, delicate tissue that partially encloses the ovule (prospective seed). The bracts and bracteoles are small, modified leaves that enclose and protect the seed in what some growers refer to as the seed pod.

What is a calyx of a flower?

The green structures are called sepals, and together the sepals are called the calyx. They serve to protect the flower and its reproductive organs, important to produce seeds for the perpetuation of the plant. In many flowers, sepals are modified in various ways or even completely missing.

The calyx is the first part of a flower that forms. It is made up of a collection of small leaves that form in a spiral near where the flower meets the stem, and is made up of sepals, which are tiny leaves that protect the flower at its base. The calyx is basically the base of the flower that holds everything together.