Why are the orange hairs on weed

Ever looked at a bud and wondered what those little orange hairs are? They are called pistils, and they play a crucial role in the plant’s reproduction. Pistils serve as the female reproductive parts of the cannabis plant, acting as a receptor for male pollen to produce seeds. But there’s much more to these fiery strands than meets the eye! 

In this article, we’ll explore the function and importance of pistils, how they contribute to the plant’s development, and their impact on your smoking experience. We’ll also discuss how pistils can be an indicator of the plant’s health and maturity, offering insights for growers on optimal harvest times.

What are the orange hairs on weed? (Pistils)

The small orange hairs that grow on buds are the reproductive parts of a female cannabis plant. These hair-like structures grow out of the calyx of the cannabis flower, initially appearing as white and gradually turning orange or red as the plant matures.

Pistils serve as a signaling mechanism for pollination, catching pollen from male cannabis plants that is then used to produce seeds. While they are not directly responsible for the potency or flavor of the bud, their color, density, and development can provide and insight into the plant’s maturity and overall health. Understanding the role and characteristics of pistils will help you monitor your plants development and determe when is the best time for harvest.

What cannabis pistils should look like at harvest

When do pistils begin to grow on weed?

Pistils begin to emerge during the flowering stage of the cannabis plant’s life. As the plant transitions from the vegetative to the flowering phase, small bud sites form, and the pistils appear as wispy, white hairs growing out from the preflowers. This is the plant signaling its readiness to receive pollen for fertilization. The appearance of pistils is your indicator that the plant has fully transitioned into the flowering stage.

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What are the Different Colors of Pistils and What Does it Mean?


When cannabis pistils first appear, they are usually white, indicating the early stage of the flowering phase. White pistils are a sign that the bud is still developing. At this stage, the plant is focusing on growing its buds still quite a way off from harvesting.

White pistils are a sign that the bud is still developing


As the flowering stage progresses, the pistils will begin to change color, typically turning orange. This transformation is a natural part of the plant’s maturation process, signaling that the buds are developing and getting closer to harvest time. The image below shows a bud where around half of the pistils have turned orange, this indicates that the bud is not yet ready for harvest. But rather than just relying on the color of pistils you should also be looking at the color of the trichomes as a more accurate way of determining the window for harvest.

Orange red or pink pistils indicate that buds are developing and getting closer to harvest time

Red or Pink

In some cannabis strains, pistils may turn red or pink instead of orange. This is usually strain specific and is a normal color variation. It still indicates the same level of maturity as orange pistils, serving as a visual cue for growers to monitor the plant’s readiness for harvest.

Pistils may turn red or pink instead of orange


When most of the pistils have turned brown, it generally indicates that the cannabis plant has reached full maturity and is ready for harvest. Brown pistils signify that the buds have developed fully and have reached their peak level of potency. Harvesting at this stage can help in obtaining buds with optimal flavor, aroma, and effects.

In week 6-7-8 of flowering stage cannabis buds are nice and dense and pistils are darkened

When do pistils turn from white to orange?

This color change typically begins around the mid flowering phase but can vary depending on the strain. The shift from white to orange indicates that the plant is moving closer to maturity, with the buds developing and accumulating cannabinoids and terpenes.

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Can you use pistils to decide when to harvest weed?

Yes but its one of a few methods you should be using. Observing the color of the pistils is a common way to tell when a cannabis plant is nearing its window for harvest. However, the best way to identify when the buds are at their peak level of potency is to check the appearance of its trichomes. Really you should use the color of pistils as an indicator of when to start monitoring the trichomes.

How do you time your harvests based on the trichomes? (Trichome Color)

While pistils are a helpful indicator, many experienced growers also examine the color of the trichomes to time their harvests more accurately. Trichomes are the tiny, crystal-like structures on the buds, responsible for producing cannabinoids and terpenes.

Once the majority of the pistils have turned orange, I would use this as the time to begin checking the color of your trichomes. You want to look for the moment when around 50-70% of them have turned a cloudy color and there are some that are amber, this is the window of optimal potency.

Clear trichomes typically indicate that the bud is still immature. When trichomes turn milky or cloudy, it usually means the plant has reached its peak THC levels, ideal for those seeking more euphoric and uplifting effects. Amber trichomes suggest a higher presence of CBN, offering more relaxing and sedative effects.

Should the pistils all turn orange before harvest?

Not necessarily. While orange pistils often indicate maturity, some strains may have a majority of orange pistils while still needing more time to develop optimal cannabinoid and terpene profiles. Observing trichome coloration along with pistil color can offer a more accurate indication of readiness for harvest.

Do pistils get you high?

No, pistils do not contribute to the psychoactive effects of cannabis. The high is primarily due to cannabinoids like THC, which are produced in the trichomes of the cannabis plant. While pistils are crucial for reproduction, they do not contain significant levels of cannabinoids.

What color should pistils be?

Pistils change color as the plant matures, typically transitioning from white to orange, red, or brown. At harvest the majority of the pistils should have turned orange and 50-70% of the trichomes are milky or cloudy.

Is it normal for buds to have lots of orange hairs?

Yes, it’s perfectly normal. A profusion of orange hairs, or pistils, on cannabis buds usually indicates a healthy plant. However, the quantity and color can vary depending on the strain and growing conditions.

Are pistils part of the bud?

Yes, pistils are important parts of the cannabis bud. They grow out of the calyx’s and are used to catch male pollen during the plant’s reproductive process. While not contributing to potency, their development and coloration serve as valuable indicators of plant maturity.

Should you trim off pistils?

Trimming pistils is generally a matter of personal preference and aesthetics. While they do not affect potency, some growers choose to trim them for a cleaner appearance of the buds. Others may leave them intact, as they do not detrimentally impact the smoking experience and can add to the bud’s visual appeal.

In conclusion, those vibrant orange hairs, or pistils, on your cannabis are more than just eye catching—they’re indicators of plant health, maturity, and readiness for harvest. Understanding the role and changes in pistils, coupled with trichome observation will allow you to harvest your buds at the perfect time. Found this colorful insight helpful? Don’t forget to like and share this article!

Iris Sideris

Meet Iris, the ultimate cannabis connoisseur! With her green thumbs and a puff puff pass mentality, Iris loves sharing her stash of knowledge on all things cannabis. Whether you're a seasoned smoker or a newbie to the ganja game, Iris is the go-to source for all things 420.

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