Phenotypic plasticity facilitates a radical difference in marijuana morphology between clonally identical specimens if the environments and feeding programs are different. I have experienced this first hand by giving my genetics to novice growers and documenting their grows with the same genetics I am growing … but with mine grown under optimal conditions. The differences can be radical. I have even been accused of growing something different by some of these novices when the genetics have been exactly the same with cuttings from the same mother plant.
Let’s strip the technical jargon from the equation. Phenotypic plasticity is much like it implies: a phenotype (a genetic expression of the combined genes of a male and female marijuana plant) is malleable by nature and able to change, without painstaking evolution, in order to adapt and survive in a given environment. Evolution typically takes millennia of tedious natural selection and survival of the fittest in order for organisms to evolve and adapt, but phenotypic plasticity happens within the same generation and life cycle of the organism.
Marijuana plants are incredibly adaptable, but the plasticity component can result in radical differences in specimen outcomes. Plants can stunt, grow gangly, and turn hermaphrodite, if stress is too severe , no matter how superior the genetics.
All clones are not create equal. Length of exposure to light, feeding regimen, and frequency of stress and/or shock will effect morphology and greatly determine the ability of the plant to reach its potential. Phenotypic plasticity facilitates this.
Effects of plasticity in plants can also include allocation of more resources to the roots in soils that contain low concentrations of nutrients and alteration of leaf size and thickness. The transport proteins present in roots are also changed depending on concentrations of nutrient and salinity of the soil. Some plants are able to even alter their photosynthetic pathways to use less water.
So next time you acquire that “super strain,” remember that getting a great outcome is not necessarily a done deal. A phenotype only has a “potentiality” that can be reached if the placidity does not drive the morphology in an undesirable direction because of less than idea conditions.
Check out Brown Dirt Warriors cult film on growing here.