Plants produce the oxygen that we breathe, the food we eat, and, in the case of marijuana, the psychoactive substances we use as medicine and intoxicants. Without plants, life on earth would be composed mainly of humans, animals, fungi, bacteria, viruses, and microorganisms.
Cannabis plants share many characteristics with other members of the Plantae kingdom. Like all plants, during photosynthesis plants use light to transfer electrons from water to carbon dioxide, producing glucose. Photosynthesis also produces oxygen for all breathing organisms. Like all vascular plants, water and nutrients are absorbed from the soil through the plant’s roots.
As any marijuana connoisseur knows, though, there is at least one thing that sets this plant apart: its ability to produce the psychoactive and therapeutic chemical compounds known collectively as cannabinoids. THC and CBD may be what growers are most concerned about when it comes to producing marijuana, but that does not mean they can focus exclusively on these chemical components. Instead, they need to develop a basic understanding of what marijuana plants are and how they work.
All plant cells begin as generalized cells. These cells multiply via cell division, then expand outward via cell elongation. Cell division occurs primarily at the plants’ crowns, the tips of its roots, and at the fringes of its leaf nodes. First-time growers are often astonished to see how quickly cell division and elongation produce growth. Some plants can grow as much as three inches per day.
As plants grow, their unspecialized cells become specialized, meaning they change to perform different specific functions. Although there are many types of plant cells, they can be divided into three general groups: ground cells, vascular tissues, and dermal tissue.
Ground cells are known by the scientific name parenchyma. All functional parts of the organism fall into this category, including most leaf cells, with the exceptions of those found in stomata and veins.
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