The mutation is extremely rare. It may only exist because of deliberate breeding to trigger this effect. While this trait is interesting, it is not advantageous to yield or cannabinoid concentration. No commercial strains currently incorporate this mutation.
Everyone knows what a cannabis plant looks like, right? Actually, not so fast! Not all cannabis looks the same. With the rise of hybrid experimentation, mutations are increasingly common, if not deliberately bred into strains downstream. Certain strange mutations have actually become the basis for some of the most popular strains out there.
Variegation also means lower yields. A lessened ability to photosynthesise equates to slower growing plants. That said, some variegated plants can grow to be quite tall.
This kind of mutation is also very pretty. Cannabis plants have a great deal of natural geometry. This mutation creates a slightly different kind. Regular plants have two leaves that grow from each internode. Whorled phyllotaxy plants have three leaves instead. Plants with a whorled phyllotaxy tend to be extra bushy. That said, the trait is not useful to breeders as it can lead to greater yields, but will disappear once attempted to be bred and replicated.
This mutation is very common. Polyembryonic seeds contain more than one seedling. Once germinated, it will produce two taproots instead of one. If carefully handled, these seedlings can be successfully separated into two plants.
This mutation hails from Australia. A breeder then took advantage of the odd variety by cultivating it into a real “strain” – although the leaf mutation can occur across various strains. This mutation gets its name from the webbed, foot-like leaves that it grows. However, the different looking leaves are just the start of it. Most ducksfoot cannabis grows up to be sativa plants.
Most flower sites on cannabis plants occur at the nodes, where the stalks originate. However, leaf buds occur at the base of the leaves themselves. This is an unusual (if pretty) mutation. It can also be advantageous to yield because the plant grows more bud sites. However, experienced growers tend to remove them as they form; they take up nutrients that can otherwise nourish the main flower sites.
However, there is some indication that the white flower tips commonly expressed during high-intensity LED cultivation may arise due to genetic mechanisms. Testing on these white tips has reportedly demonstrated above-average cannabinoid and terpene levels compared to normal parts of the same plant – so white flower tissue may not be so detrimental after all! Of course, we need to conduct more studies and tests to ascertain the exact nature of the relationship between high light levels, genetics and variegation.
Phyllotaxy is the botanical term for the arrangement of leaves on a plant stem. The basic leaf arrangements are opposite and alternate (also known as spiral). In the case of opposite phyllotaxy, two leaves originate from the same position on the stem, while in alternate phyllotaxy each leaf originates from a unique point on the stem. Whorled phyllotaxy is an interesting variant where several leaves arise from the same point on the stem.
I’ve been growing since the early 60’s, as you might imagine I’ve encountered numerous examples of the aforementioned deviations: including a trifoliate that grew intense three sided branching without any pruning, a half golden and dark green leaved plant perfectly split 50/50 through the plant from base to top cola, several creeper pheno’s that would “lean into the sunlight lowering its branches into the soil and growing into “frods” that produced copious lbs. of buds, One of the oddest features I discovered over time is what I call “celery” stalk. The plant is an indica/sat hybrid that grows into a nice thick bushy round main stem from the growing center that starts to flatten and intensifies its core like a celery stalk. Quite striking including a ribbed appearance which grows vertically with the elongating stem…Multi clone like leaflets emanate from this protrusion.
9) Twin seedlings
Unfortunately, legal restrictions mean we can’t answer grow-related questions or give grow advice on this blog.
Cannabis Mutations – Variegation
The creeper phenotype is a strange mutation that is generally found in tropical strains, which often grow extremely large, in very humid conditions. Rather than focussing their energy on producing a large central cola, some of these tropical strains grow such large and heavy lower branches that they can bow down to touch the ground. At that point, the branches continue to grow along the ground. In common with many other plants, it may even form new root sites where the underside of the stem touches the ground!
This mutation appears to be extremely rare, and does not seem to have been noted beyond these few anomalous experiments. Beyond its rarity and extremely unusual appearance, the vine characteristic does not appear to be highly advantageous, and no commercial strains have ever been developed.
A few years ago the legend of albino cannabis was started; long white buds that made resin much more visually attractive started appearing online on forums and social media, creating an uproar in the community. Albinism isn’t new, and occurs in both humans and animals; it occurs when there’s a lack of a pigment called melanin and it can affect eyes, skin and hair. In the world of plants it works differently; instead of melanin, plants can lack in carotenes, organic pigments that are related to the photosynthetic process. This means that 100% albino plants can’t exist, as photosynthesis is a process that is elemental to their survival and without any carotenes at all, photosynthesis can’t be done.
Beginners luck is something we’ve all heard of, and it can happen to anyone. One out of every 10000 seeds can have a mutation that causes them to create twin plants; two plants from just one seed. This is not common in the world of plants but it works in a similar manner to humans; there are two embryos in the seed, and one tends to be weaker than the other but this doesn’t mean that it’s going to die, you’ll just need to take better care of it. The best moment to separate them is after germinating, before moving them to soil or substrate. You’ll need to separate the roots patiently and with extreme care, as they’re usually quite intertwined, and once that is done you can plant them in two different pots and go about your grow as normal. These seeds are called polyembryonic, completely different from Siamese seeds, which are two plants with just one root.
Albinism is apparent in cannabis in both the buds and the foliage; these plants are quite eye-catching due to their lack of coloring and chlorophyll. It can’t be confused with discoloration due to grow lights being too close; what really happens is that the irradiation from the bulbs degrades the chlorophyll in the plants because the bulbs intensity is much too high for the plant, in turn burning the photo-pigments. This makes for some nice visual effects but affects the vigor of the plant and usually causes them to reduce their yield drastically. Albinism can manifest from germination, which almost instantly kills the plant. It can also manifest during the growth and flowering periods. It’s believed that albino plants that reach flowering and manage to stay alive will trap nutrients and other feed, preventing other plants around it from getting them (if you have a watering system that filters through the plants simultaneously).
Apart from albino plants, you can also find “creeping” cannabis plants; these plants grow one meter tall and then tend to grow sideways rather than up, as if all of the sun was hitting it sideways; if planted outdoors, these plants will creep along the ground and root where it can. This kind of mutation is generally found in sativas rather than indicas.
In Australia there is a curious cannabis mutation called the Australian Bastard Cannabis. It’s not known where this plant came from, but the mutation is present in the leaves and it’s thought that the shape of the leaves helps it put up with the cold in the Sidney Mountains. This strain doesn’t have much THC and isn’t specially known for its aroma or flavor, rather than for its different shape. It’s the perfect plant for guerilla grows or discreet garden grows as it looks nothing like a cannabis plant until it begins flowering. The original and different shape of the leaves make it perfect if you don’t want prying eyes to know that you’re growing cannabis, and Dutch seed banks have already included seeds like these in their catalogues for those that go guerilla grows.