Other strategies in which plants evolved to have their seeds dispersed are the fruiting species, which rely on hungry animals such as birds, mammals and even turtles that eat the sweet fruits and in return are digested and deposited far distances away.
The seeds of common burdock (Arctium minus) are some of the most recognizable and commonly encountered hitchhikers in the Poconos. Not only does this non-native weed have big, broad leaves but produces large clingy seed balls which easily latch onto clothing. The round seed balls strongly latch onto fabric similar to Velcro and often break apart leaving the smaller seeds fragments to be removed as well. (Difficult to remove; especially when firmly attached.)
The results of my pesky pickings are as follows from the easiest to remove to the most annoying:
Cocklebur (Xanthium strumarium) is an alien invader found in old fields and backyard gardens. The large seed heads remind one of spiny miniature pickles. The seeds grasp onto fur and clothing quite easily but are cumbersome to remove considering the sharp spines on individual seeds. (Moderately annoying to remove due to sharp spines.)
I then placed a collection of individual seeds onto the arm of my gray fleece jacket to determine which clingy seed species was the most difficult to remove.
Although the weeds within crop stands are annoying, those that appear in fields can be downright dangerous for grazing animals like horses and cattle.
Once those weeds emerge, digging them out is the only cure. Make sure to get three to four inches (7.5 to 10 cm.) of root when the plant is young, or else it’ll grow back from root fragments. If your problem plant is already flowering or going to seed, you can clip it at the ground and carefully bag it for disposal – composting will not destroy many of these types of weeds.
What are Hitchhiker Weeds?
There are at least 600 weed species that travel by hitchhiking with humans or on machines, 248 of which are considered noxious or invasive plants in North America. They come from every kind of plant, from herbaceous annuals to woody shrubs, and occupy every corner of the world. A few plants you might be familiar with include the following:
You can help slow the spread of these hitchhikers by carefully inspecting your clothing and pets before emerging from a wild area full of seeding plants, making sure to leave those unwanted weeds behind. Also, reseeding disturbed areas like your garden plot with a cover crop can ensure that there’s too much competition for hitchhikers to thrive.
Weed seeds spread in a variety of ways, whether traveling by water, by air, or on animals. The group of weeds nicknamed the “hitchhikers” are seeds that stick to clothing and fur, making it difficult to dislodge them immediately. Their variously barbed adaptations ensure that the seeds will travel far and wide via animal locomotion, and most can be eventually shaken off down the road somewhere.
Finally, autoflowering seeds have more to do with the growth cycle of the marijuana plant. When growing regular seeds , you will need to adjust the type and amount of light your plant receives in order to trigger the flowering process. But autoflowering seeds have been genetically designed to produce a plant that automatically flowers without you needing to be fully on top of altering the light your plant receives.
Many cannabis consumers like the idea of growing their own marijuana plant — whether the plants are used for recreational purposes or to produce medical marijuana . Very often, people find it incredibly rewarding to consume cannabis that they grew themselves, and many enjoy being able to nurture their plant all the way from the seed to the final harvest.
Growing inside gives you a bit more flexibility as you can control and fine-tune the growing culture for your plants. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps
Regular seeds, feminized seeds, or autoflowering seeds?
Depending on how a seed has been bred, you can purchase regular cannabis seeds , feminized cannabis seeds , or autoflowering cannabis seeds . These are not strains of marijuana ; they are categories that refer to the sex and maturation process of the seeds .
When you’ve decided which strain you want to grow, be sure to do a bit of research to familiarize yourself with the unique growing needs and specifications of that strain. While there are general guidelines for growing any type of cannabis, different strains also have their own specific needs. Similarly, some strains do better in specific parts of the world or climates. You should grow a strain that is well-suited to the growing environment you will be creating for your plants .
You should always plan on a certain percentage of your seeds failing to germinate or growing into weak and unviable plants . Understanding this, you should plan on purchasing more seeds than you think you will need. As a general guideline, assume that at least 25% of the seeds you plant will, for one reason or another, not make it to harvest. For best results, buy and plant more seeds than the number of mature plants you want to produce.
Beyond the three main categories of indica, sativa, and hybrid, you should also figure out which specific strain you want to grow. If you are not totally sure which strain you want to grow, or you’re curious to learn about other strains that you might not be familiar with, browse through the online catalogs of reputable seed banks and read about the various strains currently available.