The only reason I bother to differentiate between the two is that true hermaphrodite plants are more predictable. With a “true” hermaphrodite plant, the male and female parts will grow on different parts of the plant. They won’t grow together in the same spot such as when nanners appear in the middle of buds. Here is an example of a true hermaphrodite plant – notice how this hermie has both female pistils and fully formed male pollen sacs.
Stress can trigger this type of hermaphroditism, but unlike bananas, this particular type of mixed-sex plant seems to be a little bit more stable based on the plant’s genetics. It usually doesn’t take stress to cause these to appear. A clone of a true hermaphrodite plant will often also turn into a hermaphrodite, and offspring will often show the same traits even under perfect environmental conditions. It is recommended to never breed a plant that shows hermaphrodite traits since this is a highly inheritable genetic trait. A good “breeding stock” mother will not show signs of hermaphroditism even when subjected to stress. It is recommended that you remove hermaphrodite plants from your grow room or grow area as soon as possible to prevent accidental pollination of the buds. If pollen from a pollen sac is allowed to make contact with your buds, those buds will stop focusing on making more buds and will turn all their “effort” into making seeds. Unlike bananas, hermaphrodite plants tend to be more predictable.
Though it’s not advisable, a grower who watches very closely can carefully pluck all pollen sacs before they’ve burst. However, this should only be done if it’s the only plant you have! Don’t do this if you have other female plants that can be pollinated! Remember, while these pollen sacs can start appearing early, they may continue to appear throughout the flowering stage so stay vigilant! The following type of hermaphrodite plant has mixed male and female parts, referred to in botany as “bisexual” flowers. With mixed-sex buds you will see plants that grow a mix of pistils and pollen sacs together, like this… Bananas (“Nanners”) Another common type of mixed-sex buds is the type that produces “bananas” (sometimes called “nanners”) which grow from the middle of female buds. Example of a “Banana” or “Nanner” growing among buds. Bananas are rarely round and they don’t look like a normal pollen sac. Instead, they’re often elongated and yellow, which is where they get the nickname “banana”. They also often grow together in bunches that can look like a bunch of bananas. Occasionally they appear more lime green than yellow. Sometimes a banana appears lime green instead of yellow. These can be a lot more difficult to control than actual pollen sacs, since they may start pollinating everything in the area as soon as they appear. A few bananas won’t do much damage, but if you have a big banana problem it may be best to harvest the plants immediately and cut your losses. Seeds take some time to develop, so if a plant starts herming right around harvest time, it’s less likely you’ll end up with seeds. Bananas are actually the exposed “male” parts of a pollen sac, called the “stamen” which would normally be surrounded by a sac to hold all the pollen until it bursts open. If you open up a fully formed male pollen sac, you will see what looks like bananas (stamens) inside. But when bananas appear on your plants, they don’t need to “burst” in order to spread pollen, they will immediately start making pollen and often will seed the buds that are close by even if bananas are removed right away, and sometimes the pollen can drift to other plants and pollinate them as well, too. It’s possible that the pollen is sterile, and won’t pollinate bud successfully…but don’t rely on that happening! The yellow bunches in this bud are bananas/stamens and will “try” to pollinate everything they can – they don’t have to wait for a pollen sac to burst. It’s possible that the pollen is sterile, but often you may find seeds. If a female plant is allowed to go too long without being harvested or pollinated (allowed to go past the point of optimal harvest), she will sometime produce a bunch of bananas in her buds as a last-ditch attempt to self-pollinate and create seeds for the next year. This is not as destructive as other types of hermies since it only happens after plants are already past the point of optimal harvest.
While genetics are ultimate the cause of whether a plant is capable of producing bananas and mixed-sex buds, environmental stress is often a big component in causing bananas to form.
Luckily if you stick with high-quality genetics, you are much less likely to run into bananas even if you do accidentally stress your plants.