Last updated: June 11, 2021

What Does Pistil Mean?

The pistil is part of the reproductive system of a female flower and consists of one or more carpels, a plant’s female sex organ. The pistil essentially houses the ovary portion of a carpel or carpels. Pistil and carpel may be referred to interchangeably when only one pistil and carpel are present in a flower.

Various plant types have pistils that look slightly different but all perform the same functions. A plant may contain a single pistil or several pistils.

In cannabis cultivation, the pistil is desired for its resin content and is often used as an indicator of harvestability.


Maximum Yield Explains Pistil

A pistil consists of one or several structures called carpels. A pistil may have one simple carpel or a compound pistil composed of two or more carpels.

A carpel is made up of an ovary, a stalk called the style, and a sticky, pollen-receptive tip called the stigma. Pollen is spread to the stigma via birds, insects, wind, or rain. If pollination occurs, the ovary will develop a seed and the plant has successfully completed its life cycle.

The pistil of the cannabis plant features brightly colored hairs that are often bronze or orange. A high-quality bud’s pistil boasts a large number of hairs. The longer the pistil is denied pollination from a male, the more it will produce cannabinoid and terpene-rich resin in an attempt to trap pollen.

As the cannabis bud matures, the color of the pistil changes. When the pistil first emerges, it is white but as the pistil continues to mature, it dries out and starts to curl. Pistils may turn yellow, orange, pink, red or brown. Typically, the pistil will darken when it reaches six to eight weeks old. When 75% of pistil hairs have darkened and started to curl, the plant is mature and may be ready for harvest. Pistil colors vary and depend largely on the cannabis strain.


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