A phenotype refers to the physical characteristics expressed by a cannabis plant based on its specific genetic makeup and environmental conditions. Phenotypes can vary widely even among genetically identical seeds from the same parents. This variation occurs because phenotype is determined by both genetics (genotype) and developmental environment. The latter can include light, soil, air, water and other external factors that influence how genes express themselves physically. This is called phenotypic plasticity. To create consistent crops, growers select the most favorable phenotype from a genetic line to clone and propagate through cuttings.
This mother plant's traits are well-suited to the growing environment and consumer preferences. Its phenotypes reflect positive attributes like fast growth, high yield, potency, or aromatic terpenes. Growers then eliminate less ideal phenotypes and keep multiplying the winner. However phenotypes can still drift over time as small environmental factors change. Continual selection and vigilance is required to preserve a strain's key characteristics. In summary, phenotype refers to the physical expression of genetic traits in a cannabis plant. Growers select desirable phenotypes to breed and clone for consistent production.