Here’s everything you need to know about marijuana leaves: Characteristics, shapes and parts

Here’s everything you need to know about marijuana leaves: Characteristics, shapes and parts

Marijuana leaves are fundamental components of the cannabis plant. Studying and understanding their characteristics is vital to better understand the functioning of this wonderful plant and achieve better results in your crop.

Join us to learn about the parts of marijuana leaves, the different shapes they can take and the functions they play in the growth and development of the plant.

Physical characteristics of marijuana leaves

Generally these leaves have a wide variety of shapes, sizes, colors and structures. Before delving into the different parts of the leaves, it is important to mention the sugar leaves, which are those that grow between the buds and are covered with a considerable amount of resin.

These leaves, also known as “sugar leaves,” are especially valuable because of their high resin content. Some growers choose to trim only what is necessary, while others save them for post-harvest extractions.

As for the colors of marijuana leaves, we can find a wide range of shades, which vary according to the genetics and cultivation of the plant.

From pale green to intense green, purple or even black. Some marijuana strains, such as those of the Red family of Sweet Seeds, present leaves with reddish tones, which gives them a really impressive appearance.

It is also common to find cannabis strains with bluish and purple leaves and buds. An emblematic example of this is the Blueberry variety of Dutch Passion.

There are even strains that, at low temperatures, can develop almost completely black leaves, such as the Purple Cherry Punch from Narcotik.

What is the shape of marijuana leaves?

Generally speaking, marijuana leaves have a palmate shape, similar to the palm of an open hand. Likewise, they present lobes that resemble the fingers of that open hand.

The size of the leaves can vary according to the genetics and the size of the plant, but they generally consist of between 5 and 7 fingers per leaf, with a length of 5 to 20 centimeters.

The shape of the leaves also varies according to the type of marijuana and its genetics:

  • Sativa leaves are usually thinner and elongated.
  • Indica leaves are smaller in length but wider.
  • Autoflowering leaves, known as ruderalis, start with three-pointed leaves and then gradually increase in number.

There are genetic mutations that result in cannabis leaves with more peculiar shapes. Although not as common, it is possible to find plants with leaves that deviate from the usual shape. Some notable examples include:

  • Frisian Duck: a cannabis strain developed by Dutch Passion that is characterized by leaves similar to the legs of a duck. This mutation allows the plant to camouflage more easily in natural environments.
  • Freakshow: a genetic from Humboldt Seeds that produces irregular leaves, with a shape similar to field border plants or ferns, but more irregular and with fewer tips.
  • Australian Bastard Cannabis (ABC): an Australian cannabis genetic that grows more like a weed than a tree, with non-serrated leaves and very small size. Unfortunately, this variety is not commercialized.

What are the parts of a marijuana leaf?

A marijuana leaf is composed of several parts, each with an important role in the health and growth of the plant. Below, we will describe each of these parts:

  • Petiole: this is the “stem” that connects the leaf to the main stem of the plant. It is a thin and elongated part.
  • Main nerves or nervures: these are the largest veins that run through the leaf, in charge of transporting nutrients and water throughout its structure.
  • Secondary veins: these are smaller branches that detach from the main veins and help distribute nutrients and water evenly throughout the leaf.
  • Leaf blade: the flat, green part of the leaf, where most of the photosynthetic cells are located. It is responsible for capturing sunlight for photosynthesis.
  • Rachis: is the central structure that joins and provides support to the parts of the marijuana leaf, allowing the circulation of nutrients and water throughout its length.
  • Vascular system: the vascular system of a marijuana leaf is composed of xylem and phloem tissues, which form a network of ducts involved in the transport of water, nutrients and other vital compounds.
  • Margin, saw or edge: the serrated edge of the leaf, which may be smooth or have lobes or teeth depending on the variety of cannabis.
  • Apex: the tip of the leaf, which may be pointed, rounded or take various shapes depending on the genetics of the plant.
  • Stomata: small openings on the leaf surface, responsible for gas exchange, such as the absorption of carbon dioxide (CO2) and the release of oxygen during photosynthesis.
  • Trichomes are small hair-like appendages or glands that cover the leaf surface. Trichomes can contain resin and are responsible for the production of cannabinoids and terpenes, which contribute to the plant’s characteristic effects and aroma.


Marijuana leaves are essential components of the cannabis plant.Their shape, parts, and functions provide us with valuable clues about the health and development of the plant.

Observing and understanding these characteristics allows us to detect problems and take action to ensure a thriving, high quality and completely successful crop.