Marijuana flower (right) and after the grating (above). Below is the kief, a powder made from detached trichomes.

Marijuana flower

Flower is the part of the plant that is smoked or cooked that contains the plant’s THC-A. The interesting thing about the term flower is that it is not a real flower. This unusual organ of the plant is almost like the fruit in that it contains seeds. However, unlike fruits, it is not covered with a skin and does not hang on branches. It grows on top of the stems and can be picked, but it must be dried (by curing) and cut so that it is leaf free. Curing medicinal products improves the aroma and consistency of the flower. Cutting the leaves from the flower is done either by machines or by workers called trimmers. The flower looks like a spongy green moss, but can be fluffy or firm depending on the plant and variety. It contains high levels of THC-A that can be extracted into concentrates. However, by itself, it is most commonly used by grinding it into small pieces and then smoking it.


Chalices and stigma (hairs) of the marijuana flower.

Interestingly, the real flowers of Cannabis sativa have small yellow petals and are located on the male plant. We will use the term flower to refer to the THC-A-containing part of the plant described above, as this is the most common term for it. This part of the plant is made up of smaller anatomical pieces called calyxes that have tiny protruding hairs called stigma. The stigma can be white, red, orange, and occasionally purple. On the surface of the cup there are tiny mushroom-shaped hairs called trichomes, which are clear and contain the highest percentage of THC-A. Trichomes, if you look closely, make marijuana look like it has tiny crystals or sugar on the surface. The flower sometimes feels sticky.

Marijuana flower grows on top of cannabis stems and needs to be cut from leaves and cured (dried in a special way).


Beth Edmonds