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What are Micro-Seeds?

From time to time at Trichome Institute, we observe anatomic inconsistencies or anomalies of cannabis that may go unnoticed to the untrained eye (or nose). We dig through cannabis with a fine tooth comb and we love it. Some of our observations include the lack of style and stigma on broad leaf marijuana (BLM) types, the effects of cannabis on trigeminal nerve stimulation, and the existence of a possible 7th trichome, among other things. 


Micro-seeds are another one of our observations. It’s more than likely flower enthusiasts have come across micro-seeds before, but less likely they were fully aware it was a micro-seed. What in the world is a micro-seed, anyway? From our experience, here’s what we think micro-seeds are and where they come from... 

Seed shell husk


When working with cannabis flower, you may find something small and oblong-shaped with a whitish-brown, greenish-gray, seed-like appearance. The Trichome Institute team has dubbed these “micro-seeds.” The name is suitable because, while they are seeds, they are not fully formed or fertile. We commonly find micro-seeds in female flowers that were never exposed to male plants, for example, in licensed grows where males aren’t allowed, and therefore we believe micro-seeds form due to genetic or environmental stress, rather than improper insemination.


Sometimes micro-seeds form because environmental conditions have “forced” them too. For instance, micro-seeds sometimes appear in flowers that produce a hollow space in the bracts. Cannabis plants kept in the dark produce new fertile stigmas and anthers on female plants when shocked with light. This immediate hermaphroditism is caused by the plant’s genetic drive to reproduce in an environmental emergency, such as if a volcano erupted, changing daylight to dark or vice versa.




It is possible that plants experiencing prolonged stress could also be attempting to reproduce, in this case to strengthen the genetics to maintain a healthy and stable form. Many cultivators don’t grow cannabis from seed,  preferring instead to clone the same genetics, and sometimes for a decade or more, which may cause genetic stress and prevent a full regeneration from occurring over time. Thus, you may find plants in these conditions attempting to force seed production, resulting in half-baked micro-seed formation due to their reduced genetic make-up. 


Hollow bract


Whether it's stress or poor genetics, it seems as if the plants produce the hollow bract space in preparation for a seed to be there. It also seems as if the female plants are somehow attempting to force their non-fertile ovules to grow into seeds. Without insemination, the ovule grows past its ovule stage and into a small seed, which is typically twice the size of the ovule (2-3mm long), less green, and more brown in color, and with seed veins visible in its husk. Yet without pollen to finish the job and grow an embryo inside the seed, it appears the micro-seed stops its development, keeping it small, infertile, and generally odd looking. If it were to continue into a full seed it would grow twice as large, become deep brown in color, and develop a  hard wooden seed shell, which could also sport spots, stripes or remain patternless at (4-5mm long). 


Seed Growth Size Chart


If you are a cultivator, the presence of micro-seeds within your flower would result in the loss of  some points in a cannabis cup type competition due to inflorescence flaws because a perfect flower should be free of hollow bracts, with no indication of seed formation or even preparation for them. However, finding these little things is not problematic for a consumer, as they won't do much to negatively impact your consumption experience in any way. They simply indicate the genetics of that strain could use some regeneration at the start of the cultivation process. 


Have you come across micro-seeds? If you find or have more info on micro seeds please share in the comments below! 


By Max Montrose,

“Hope you learned something new!”





Professional Interpening