What Is an Anther in Cannabis?

What Is an Anther in Cannabis?

Cannabis anthers, often unnoticed but crucial, are the oval-shaped sacs at the end of the stamen in male cannabis plants. These anthers play a pivotal role in the plant’s reproductive cycle, housing and releasing pollen necessary for fertilization. Typically, a cannabis flower has about six anthers, varying in hues from light yellow to deep red​​​​​​​​​​.

Understanding the Anther

An anther is a part of a flowering plant’s stamen, the male reproductive organ. It’s typically where pollen is produced and stored. In cannabis plants, like in many others, the anther is a pivotal part of the reproductive system, though its role differs significantly from what’s seen in human or animal biology.

An anther is usually composed of two lobes connected by a filament. These lobes contain microsporangia, where pollen grains – the male gametophytes – are produced. Upon maturity, these pollen grains are released to fertilize the female part of the plant, the pistil.

Anther vs. Stigma in Cannabis Plants

FeatureAnther in CannabisStigma in Cannabis
Part ofMale reproductive organ (stamen)Female reproductive organ (pistil)
FunctionProduces and releases pollenReceives pollen leading to fertilization
Relevance to CultivationCritical in breeding and seed productionKey in seedless bud production
IdentificationFound on male plants, small, pollen-bearingFound on female plants, sticky, hair-like

Anther Functionality and Importance

An anther’s main job is to produce, store, and release pollen, vital for the reproductive process. In dioecious plants like cannabis, male and female reproductive organs usually occur on separate plants. The pollen from the male’s anther can be naturally carried by air or deliberately collected by breeders. It’s introduced to female plants for fertilization, leading to seed production. This process is fundamental for creating new cannabis strains, contributing to the diverse variety of strains available today​​.

Interestingly, anthers may also appear on female plants under stress or due to genetic factors. These hermaphroditic plants produce both stamens and female pistils. In cultivation settings, the appearance of anthers on female plants is often undesirable as it can lead to seeded buds, reducing the quality of the harvest. Therefore, breeders are vigilant in removing such plants promptly to prevent unwanted pollination​​.

Cannabis Breeding and Anther Management

For breeders aiming to develop new cannabis strains, anthers are invaluable. By controlling pollination, breeders can experiment with genetic combinations, leading to unique strains. This manipulation of the anther’s pollen is a cornerstone in cannabis breeding, allowing for innovation and the development of strains with specific characteristics​​​​.

A closer look at an anther under a microscope reveals its complex inner workings. Within each anther, four pollen sacs house the pollen grains. During the flowering phase, these sacs dry and split open, releasing pollen for fertilization. This microscopic process is a testament to the intricate nature of plant reproduction and the vital role anthers play in it​​.


Understanding anthers is vital for cannabis cultivators and enthusiasts. These small but mighty parts of the cannabis plant play a significant role in reproduction and cultivation strategies. By controlling the interaction between anthers and pistils, growers can effectively manage seed production and quality of the cannabis harvest.