Purple Cannabis

•April 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Purple Cannabis by Nebu

The origins of purple cannabis are as much of a mystery as the origins of the plant itself. However, purpling is as natural as the changing colors on the leaves of deciduous trees in autumn, which is attributed in part to the pigment anthocyanin. Anthocyanin expression is controlled by both genetic and environmental factors. Purpling is a simple dominant Mendelian trait, with quantitative expression.

Environmental Factors:
Several pigments are responsible for color in plants: chlorophyll, carotene, xanthophyll, and anthocyanins. Chlorophyll is the pigment in chloroplasts of plants that reflects green light. Plants use the energy absorbed by chlorophyll in photosynthesis to produce food for their growth and development. It is continually broken down during photosynthesis and being replenished by the plant.

Carotene and xanthophyll are pigments that reflect orange and yellow light respectively. Both are present in the chloroplasts, with chlorophyll enabling the plant to absorb a wider range of wavelengths of light and thus capture more energy. These pigments are present in such small quantities that the more dominant chlorophyll typically masks them.

During flowering, with the passing of summer, days become shorter. The phytochromes, the light-sensing mechanisms in leaves, recognize the shorter day lengths. The shorter days and lower temperatures arrest chlorophyll production. Chlorophyll breaks down faster than it is replaced, allowing the yellow and orange pigments to be unmasked.

The molecules reflecting red wavelengths, anthocyanins, are water-soluble pigments that occur in the cell sap, creating the red, pink, and purple hues. These pigments may not be present during the summer, or vegetative cycle, but their formation is encouraged during a succession of cool nights and sunny days. During these days when photosynthesis and chlorophyll production are decreasing, an abundance of sugars accumulates in the leaf. The cool nights promote a separation layer of cells in the petiole—where the leaf attaches to the stem—that prevents sugar from flowing out of the leaf, and also arrests the flow of nutrients into the leaf. The formation of anthocyanin requires bright light, a diminishing water supply, and the accumulation of sugars trapped in the leaf.

Another factor that can cause purpling is nutrient deficiency, generally phosphorus. Although these stunted plants may bedazzle the novice, they are typically quite distinguishable from naturally occurring anthocyanin expression, due to the other visible adverse side effects of nutrient deficiency, such as leaf and bud malformation and low calyx-to-leaf ratios.

Genetics/Degrees of Purple
The discussion of Mendelian genetics, anthocyanin-expression traits and which genes at which loci influence them, mean and variance, and heritability in quantitative inheritance is beyond the scope here and will have to be left for a future article. However, there are easily observable indicators that aid in the quest for the purple kind.

The first degree of natural purpling in cannabis could be characterized as occurring exclusively in the leaves and petioles: the colors of autumn appearing in the fan leaves during cooler temperatures and close to harvest. The Akala hybrid is a beautiful example of the first stages in this level of purpling. The Akala is a four-way cross of a Northern Lights x Blueberry to a California indica x Hawaiian sativa. The aroma it produces is extremely pungent and skunky-sweet, smelling of spicy flowers and grapes with delicious buttery/toffee undertones. It has a very potent and extremely fast-acting high that is clear and energetic.

A more expressively first-degree purple hybrid, the Blue Ruskaya also responds to the same cooler environmental conditions, but, in addition to the fan leaves, the cola leaves also dominantly display its colors. The Blue Ruskaya is a “cherry phenotype” AK-47 x Bionic Blueberry hybrid that combines the power of its parentage in both taste and potency, with a uniquely sweet “cherry/berry” flavor and a stunning appearance.

In the search for purple hybrids, one factor to consider is, although purple leaves are pretty to look at during flowering, most of these are manicured away post harvest. With the onset of extensive purpling to the base of the bud leaves, we are beginning to gain some bag appeal, as the California-Orange and Blue Ruskaya nugs reveal.

The second degree is where purple begins to manifest beyond the leaves and on to the calyxes. The AB Hybrid is a jewel of an example of this level, purpling very dramatically in the leaves with splashes amongst the calyxes. We’re on to some serious bag appeal now! The AB Hybrid is a hermaphroditic cross between Emerald Triangle Funk and an old Oregon Purple indica/sativa hybrid. The taste is just dank and funky (inherited from the ET Funk). In fact, the particular AB Hybrid phenotype pictured has been appropriately dubbed “DAB,” an acronym for dank-ass bitch. However, this hybrid also possesses some very sweet, exotic perfume notes, and is so distinctive that it is quite difficult to put into words. “Smells like hippies,” some have said. Perhaps this is because of the combination of dank and incense. It definitely fills the room with its aroma, which lingers for hours.

Tasting of geraniums and cocoa, the Black Russian (a Blackberry x AK-47 hybrid) also falls into the second-degree category, but is unique in that the leaf largely remains green. It is the calyxes that are primarily affected, and these show purple from early flowering on through harvest even under extremely high temperatures, a trait for which it was bred from its Blackberry mum.

This brings us to the third and final degree of purpledom, the Blackberry. This rare phenotype exhibits a deep, dark purple bordering on black on all its calyxes (even nodal), under all circumstances except extreme high temperature, from the start of flowering through harvest. The Blackberry’s taste is as unique as its appearance, with scents all in the “high-note” range; tip of the tongue, if you will. There are no earthy, musky tones at all, but rather, elements of violets and opium with a slight antiseptic note. Even the trichomes of the Blackberry are purple, which makes extracting bubble hash a rewarding process, as both the water and the hash end up purple.

Therein lies the quest for cannabis breeders. As I raise a toast of vapor from purple bubble hash nested upon a bed of purple kind filtered through purple bubble water, I feel not unlike a king, and I decree: May the royal purple herb grace your garden, and may we all be blessed with life’s little luxuries.


Males and Pollen

•April 20, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Most growers never have the opportunity to learn the male of the species in detail and I thought it would be fun to discuss what I look for when choosing a male, how we go about collecting pollen and how we breed a full sized plant.

Before we talk about collecting pollen lets talk about staggering. This is a trick I learned by trial and error that allows us to get the maximum number of seeds per plant. This doesn’t apply to those just working with a branch or two we will discuss this also.

When pollinating a mother plant for seed I will start her into 12/12 a full 7 days before I move the male into budding room. Keeping in mind that each strain is going to be a bit different on time frame but this seven day rule has worked very well for us. This allows the female plant to develop enough pistils to produce a high volume of seeds. Once the male is flowering well the females will be entering a window around day 21-24. Most Hybrids I work with are done in less than 9 weeks so pollinating the females at 3 weeks in is good place to start. You can pollinate up to day 30 of budding but you stand a good chance of the seeds never getting mature so I find each strains perfect window. Ealier maturing strains should be pollinated closer to day 21 and longer maturing varieties closer to 30 days.

One thing I must insert and I am not trying to be rude for your younger inspiring breeders out there concentrate on producing the best herb you can and mastering the craft of room set up. Again no offence but you can’t breed properly in a cab I do it in a limited space granted but I have been growing successfully some 32 years and didn’t start breeding till I had around 20 years under my belt. It doesn’t hurt to experiment that is how we learn but I think at least a few years as a grower are in order before anyone attempts breeding even though I lay out every single step. If you think its easy ask any grower how many complete clusterfucks he’s grown out from so called “Established Breeders” It takes an eye and that is gained from experience.

Here are some things we look for when selecting a new male. The earliest plants to indicate sex are always tossed out. In nature Cannabis is a hemp dominant species and the drug traits we seek for medication have been bred into the plant over thousands of years my mans intervention. In the wild these hemp dominant males acclimate the variety and the drug traits are dominated by other traits like fiber production and vigor.

Smell plays a huge roll in my selection process and once a male plant is sexually mature at about day 45 I analyze each plant by rubbing each stem and making notes on the ones I like best. This may seem very basic but its been my experience that a skunky sour male will lend this smell trait to a new hybrid. Conversely if the male doesn’t smell incredibly dank the results are less than satisfactory. The final attribute I look for is a new male is resin. The number and frequency of non-glandular trichomes on a young male plant can be a huge indicator as to the quality of the plant. If a plant smells great and is covered in resin at day 45 I will absolutely give him a try with one of our best females. By comparing the sibling crosses to the original P1 female we can determine what characteristics are passed on. There is certainly much more to it but this is a basic guide line of the external characteristics we look for in a male plant.

Ok so now we have our male in full bloom and we have our females in the breeding room. This area should be completely separated from main bud area preferably in another building completely. If the two rooms share a common HVAC duct system you will get pollution into your main area. Pollen is serious stuff and flies everywhere and you cannot see it. It will stick to your clothes, pets, etc. You must change cloths and bath after entering your breeding area.

I prefer to simply allow my males to hang out with my mothers for a few days with a small fan positioned on the male with females in the air stream. As the stamen open the pollen naturally flies into the air providing max coverage. We also like to pluck off ripe pods and gently roll them between our fingers over each cola head. This is how we capture the amazing suspended pollen shots I set as a standard and later Jill perfected.

One trick that can be used if you don’t want to pollinate an entire room is the pollen trap. This trick takes a good eye for when the male stamens are about to open. If you can figure that out simple take two large Tupperware containers and form a box that will hold a cup with water. Wax paper in bottom and along sides and tops you have cut off the mature male. Place the tops to hang over the wax paper and tape the entire box shut this allows you to have it in a non secure place like a veg room. Warning don’t spill the water it ruins the pollen don’t put more into the glass that you need to I used a heavy bar glass that wouldn’t tip over.

One thing we should cover is male cluster formation. When selecting a male for breeding we run him as a mature full size plant and we want to see even if he has met all our other breeding criteria that he makes big gnarly male clusters this indicates the bud formation he might pass on.
Once the plants are fully pollinated I wash the females off with a spray bottle of water and if its raining I place out doors for a night up high on a barrel where no bugs could possibly get to her. I prefer a gentle long rain to a spray bottle as it removed any access pollen. Once I have redundantly rinsed I place the mothers back into my main bud not in the main air stream of my blowers.

The male Cannabis plant is equally as beautiful to me as a huge cola. He carries half of the genetic code that is responsible for creating the Dank and without him we could not create flavor combinations like Lemon- Berry or Mango Orange. So remember the next time you kill a group of male plants they have there place in the world and are beautiful in the own way!

“The Origins of Species” / pt. 1

•April 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Varieties of marijuana originating in India have been grown throughout the Caribbean and bordering coastal nations from Mexico to Brazil since 1834, when the British brought indentured Indian servants to their Caribbean colonies. Marijuana use did not become illegal in America until 1937, and large-scale commercial importation of hashish and marijuana into Europe and North America did not commence until the early 1960s.
Marijuana growing began in North America during the 1960s. At first, seeds cleaned from illicit shipments of marijuana were casually planted by curious smokers. Sinsemilla (Spanish for ?seedless?) marijuana was almost unheard of. Nearly all domestically produced marijuana that lacked seeds was immature, and mature marijuana was fully seeded. Tropical varieties from Colombia and Thailand grown in North America rarely matured before frosts killed them. However, some of the tropical varieties regularly survived until maturity in coastal Florida, Southern California, and Hawaii, where the climate is warm and the growing season is long. Alternately, subtropical Mexican and Jamaican varieties often matured outdoors across the southern two-thirds of the United States. All of these early introductions were called ?sativas,? a common name derived from the botanical name Cannabis sativa.

In the early 1970s, a handful of growers began to produce sinsemilla. Seedless plants are created by removing male plants from the fields, leaving only the unfertilized female plants to mature. Instead of setting seeds in the first receptive flowers, the female plants continue to produce copious additional flowers, covered by hundreds of thousands of resin glands. By the mid 1970s, sinsemilla was becoming the primary style of domestic marijuana production.

In 1976, a coffee-table book called Sinsemilla Marijuana Flowers, by Jim Richardson and Arik Woods revolutionized marijuana growing in North America. Not only did the authors accurately and sensitively portray the sinsemilla technique with their excellent text and lavish color photographs, they made the first attempt to describe the proper stages of floral maturity for an optimally potent and tasty harvest. Most importantly, this publication, just thirty years ago, suggested to growers that if marijuana can be grown without seeds, it follows that select female flowers can also be intentionally fertilized with select pollen to produce a few seeds of known parentage. This realization, in turn, gave birth to the expansion of conscious marijuana breeding and the myriad varieties portrayed in this article.

Early on, marijuana growers worked with any varieties they could procure in the search to find potent plants that would consistently mature before being killed by frosts. Since most imported marijuana was full of seeds, many landraces (traditional cultivars grown by indigenous peoples) were available to growers. Early-maturing northern Mexican varieties proved to be favorites as they consistently finished maturing at northerly latitudes. The earlymaturing North American sativa varieties of the early and mid-1970s (such as Polly and Eden Gold) resulted from hybrid crosses between Mexican or Jamaican landraces and more potent, but latermaturing Panamanian, Colombian, and Thai landraces. (In all hybrid crosses, the female seed parent is listed before the ?x??the symbol indicating a cross?and the male pollen parent is listed after the ?x.? If the sexual identity of the parents is unknown, a ?/? symbol is used rather than the ?x.?) Traditional cultivars gave modern growers a strong start having been favored and selected for potent landrace varieties for hundreds of years.

Most varieties in the 1970?s were adapted to outdoor growing, but others were specially developed for greenhouse or indoor, artificial light growing, where the season can be extended to allow latematuring cultivars to finish. Once varieties that would mature under the given conditions were perfected, pioneering marijuana breeders selected for high potency?high delta-1-THC content with low CBD content?followed by the aesthetic considerations of flavor, aroma, and color. (Delta-1-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, is the primary psychoactive compound in Cannabis. Cannabidiol, or CBD, is not psychoactive, but may alter the effects of THC.) Modifying adjectives, such as minty, floral, spicy, fruity, sweet, purple, golden, or red, were often attached to selected varieties, and thus domestic sinsemilla connoisseurship was born. Continued inbreeding of the original favorable hybrids resulted in some of the legendary sativas of the 1970s, such as Original Haze, Purple Haze, Polly, Eden Gold, Three Way, Maui Wowie, Kona Gold, Matanuska Thunderfuck, and Big Sur Holy Weed, which were almost always grown outdoors or in greenhouses. From 1975 until the end of the decade, marijuana breeders had great success continuing to develop connoisseur sativa cultivars. Sweeter, prettier flowers brought the grower great pride and even g reater prof it. Purple varieties gained popularity, largely following on the coattails of the extraordinary Purple Haze of Central California.

By 1980, commercial sinsemilla cultivation had become much more common. Professional growers developed sativa varieties that were both high yielding and early maturing, and police awareness of commercial cultivation increased, especially in the western United States. Small aircraft were routinely used to search for larger marijuana plantations located in remote terrain, and many small growers were turned in to the police by snoopy, alarmist neighbors. The authorities soon learned that marijuana matures in the autumn so a variety that could be brought out of the field and into the drying shed by early October avoided some of the problems that might arise with a variety that matured in late November. Faced with storage problems resulting from numerous seizures, the authorities often merely counted seized plants and burned the bulk of the confiscated crop immediately without weighing it. Prosecution was based on the number of plants counted. Just enough dried marijuana was saved for laboratory analysis to be used as evidence in court. Concurrent with increased sinsemilla production was an increased incidence of crops being stolen. The fewer large and early-maturing plants a cultivator could grow, while continuing to realize a sufficient yield and profit, the better the chances of avoiding detection by law enforcement or thieves.

When Cannabis responds positively to lots of water, sun, and nutrients, it produces huge plants, sometimes yielding up to five pounds (more than two kilograms) of dried flowers. The more they are fed and watered, the taller and bushier they become, even when heavily pruned. The larger the plant, the easier it is to spot from the air or over a fence. This situation kindled a desire in growers for plants with a short, broad stature and high flower yield. Before 1975, almost all sinsemilla was grown from sativa varieties. Correctly grown Colombian, Mexican, or Thai varieties averaged over eight feet (two and onehalf meters) tall when pruned or trellised, and could easily reach thirteen to sixteen feet (four to five meters) when grown unrestricted in full sun. As marijuana breeders continued to cross their shortest, earliest maturing, and highest-yielding sativa cultivars with each other and pruned frantically, they yearned for something new. Their salvation was manifested in a new and exotic foreign variety of marijuana called indica.?

“The Origins of Species” / pt. 2

•April 19, 2010 • Leave a Comment


Most modern European and North American sinsemilla varieties are a blend of South Asian marijuana varieties called sativas that spread throughout South and Southeast Asia, Africa, and North and South America, and have been (since the 1970s) crossed with Central Asian and Middle Eastern hashish cultivars, commonly called ?indicas,? a name based on the botanical name Cannabis indica. The most well-known indica varieties came from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Indica plants are characterized as short and bushy with broad, dark green leaves, which makes them somewhat harder to see from afar. They usually mature quite early, from late August to the end of September, often stand only three to six feet (one to two meters) at maturity, and produce copious resin-covered leaves and flowers. At least several dozen introductions of indica seeds from Afghanistan or Pakistan into North America were made during the middle to late 1970s. Afghani No. 1, Mazar-i-sharif, and Hindu Kush were some of the earliest indica introductions and are still available today. Since the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, many more indicas have made their way directly to Dutch seed companies from neighboring Pakistan. Indica added economically valuable traits to extant domestic marijuana varieties, but it was considered rough by many smokers, being originally intended for bulk hashish production, rather than fine sinsemilla. Marijuana breeders still needed the traditional sativas to make hybrids that were both potent and cerebral.

Marijuana breeders intentionally crossed early-maturing indica varieties with the sweet, but later maturing, sativa varieties to produce early-maturing hybrids. Soon the majority of growers began to try a few indica/sativa hybrids. By the early 1980s, the vast majority of commercially produced sinsemilla in North America had likely received some portion of its genetic composition from the indica gene pool, and it had become difficult to find the pre-indica, pure sativa varieties that had been so popular only a few years earlier. There are now very few pure sativas grown in North America and Europe, as they mature late outdoors and require extra time to mature indoors, resulting in higher costs and risks. Many of the indica/sativa hybrids were vigorous growers, matured earlier, yielded well, were very potent, and were easier to conceal due to their shorter stature. Skunk No. 1 (Colombian sativa/Afghan indica x Acapulco Gold Mexican sativa) is a good example of a hybrid expressing predominantly sativa traits, and Northern Lights (Afghan indica/Thai sativa) is a good example of a hybrid expressing predominantly indica traits.

Rapidly and widely distributed in retail sinsemilla. Intentionally produced seeds are usually only passed along from one serious breeder to another or purchased from seed companies, and their distribution is more limited. Accidentally produced seeds containing varying proportions of the introduced indica gene pool were grown and randomly crossed again and again. Such random outcrossing produced a complex hybrid condition such that favorable traits were rarely consistently reproducible. Few of the offspring looked like their siblings, their gene pools having been formed from randomly collected genetic scraps handed down from their assorted predecessors. Over the next few years, the mixed gene pools reassorted, manifesting many undesirable as well as desirable characteristics.

Without careful selection and breeding, marijuana begins to turn weedy, and as natural selection takes over, varieties lose their vigor, taste, and potency. Accidental recombination of complex hybrids brought out some of the less desirable traits of indica that were previously suppressed. Reduced potency; a slow, flat, dreary high; and a skunky, acrid aroma and harsh taste quickly became associated with many indica/sativa hybrids. Also, indica?s dense, tightly packed floral clusters tend to trap moisture, encouraging gray mold, for which it has little native resistance. This often results in significant crop losses that were rarely a problem when only pure sativa varieties were grown. Indica/sativa hybrids are still what the average sinsemilla consumer purchases today. To the sinsemilla connoisseur, indica has not proven to be all it was cracked up to be. Although consumers and commercial growers of the late 1970s adopted indica enthusiastically, serious breeders of the 1980s began to view indica with more skepticism.

The average commercial or home grower, however, may express quite a different opinion. Indica?s hardy growth, rapid maturation, and tolerance to cold allowed sinsemilla to be grown outdoors in the northern United States, from Washington to Maine and across southern Canada. This revolutionized the marijuana market by making potent homegrown a reality for those living at northern latitudes, as well as widening the scope and intensity of sinsemilla cultivation. Production dispersed from the U.S. epicenters of the West Coast, Hawaii, and the Ozark mountains into at least twenty major producing states. Some sinsemilla is now grown outdoors in all fifty American states, across southern Canada, and throughout much of Europe. Indica/sativa hybrids have also proven to be well adapted to indoor cultivation. Compact indica/sativa hybrid varieties mature quickly, allowing three to four harvests per year, and yield an average of three to four ounces (one hundred grams) of dry flowers on plants only three feet tall. Sativa varieties are too stretchy and tall, take too long to mature, and the tops of the plants, near the lights, shade the bottom branches, preventing them from producing many flowers.

The introduction of indica also had a more subtle, and possibly longer-lasting, effect on sinsemilla breeding. Purple coloration had become a sign of quality and potency in late-maturing sativa cultivars like Purple Haze. The consumer?s thirst for exotic purple sinsemilla created the short-lived ?Purple Craze? of the early 1980s. Growers discovered that indica varieties would often turn purple if they were left out through a frost. For a year or two, many growers were able to get more money for purple flowers, but early-maturing indica varieties, when left in the field through a frost, lost much of their potency. This abruptly ended the Purple Craze, and enlightened marijuana breeders realized that many traits prove to be desirable only in certain varieties under certain conditions. The conscientious breeder should be extremely selective when experimenting with new introductions.

In their search for high-quality genetic stock, connoisseur sinsemilla breeders have returned to some of their original pure sativa varieties. By crossing them into the now highly inbred indica/sativa hybrid varieties, breeders can enhance the hybrid?s flavor and boost its potency. Breeders are continually searching for new sources of exotic seeds. Pure unhybridized indica varieties are still highly prized breeding material, and new indica introductions are occasionally received from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sativa varieties from South Africa have recently gained favor with outdoor growers, a s they mature early but don?t suffer from many of the aesthetic drawbacks of indica. Pure South African varieties, originating far south of the equator, often mature in August, but are shorter in stature, moderately potent, and relatively high yielding. Hybrid crosses between indicas and classic indica/sativa hybrid varieties such as Skunk No. 1 are usually vigorous and early maturing and may express the desirable sativa and indica traits of high potency, fine fragrance, and high yield.

Prior to 1980, a few breeders also worked with weedy sativa varieties from Central Europe. Most Western growers call these varieties ?ruderalis.? These weedy varieties begin maturing in July or early August, which hastens the maturity of outdoor hybrid marijuana varieties. Unfortunately, they are almost entirely devoid of THC and are high in CBD. Potency suffers in hybrid offspring, and subsequent selections must be made to restore high levels of psychoactivity. However, the biggest problem with weedy varieties and their hybrids is that they are not determinate. A single plant will continue to produce new flowers until it is harvested, rather than all of its flowers maturing before harvest, so its full potential is never realized. Ruderalis hybrids will likely prove of great value only to outdoor growers at near polar latitudes where little else will grow.

North American breeders also used other exotic imports to impart particular flavors to the smoke or to enhance the potency of hybrids. Landrace varieties from Brazil, India, Indonesia, Kashmir, Korea, Nepal, Africa, and other far-flung locations were occasionally used for these purposes. Since commercial shipments of marijuana did not often originate from these regions, usually the seeds were collected in small numbers and were relatively rare compared to seeds from the major marijuana-producing regions such as Colombia, Mexico, Jamaica, and Thailand. Presently, it is nearly impossible to import seeds from new, potent, imported varieties. They rarely can be collected as there are very few locations remaining where indigenous farmers maintain traditional high-potency landraces. Basically, we are stuck with what we have in circulation, like it or not, and breeders must make the best of what they have.

A few strong branches of the North American marijuana family tree were transplanted to the Netherlands, and the remaining scions continued to flourish and evolve, leading to the tremendous diversity of marijuana varieties grown in North America and Europe today. Resulting from the openness of marijuana seed sales in the Netherlands, Dutch seed companies provide an easily documented model of the sinsemilla breeding that has continued simultaneously in North America. The Dutch seed companies described much of the heritage behind their varieties in their early catalogs. The following information comes directly from published seed catalogs and is supplemented with personal comments from breeders and seed company owners.

“The Origins of Species” pt. 3

•April 19, 2010 • 1 Comment

During the early 1980s, several marijuana seed companies appeared in the Netherlands, where cultivation of Cannabis for seed production and the sale of seeds were tolerated. Political pressure on marijuana growers in North America forced the thrust of progress in sinsemilla breeding to the Netherlands, where the political climate was much less threatening. For North American and European growers, this meant continued availability of exotic high-quality marijuana seeds.

Almost all of the Dutch varieties contain germ plasm from one or more of the founding genetic building blocks brought from North America. Cultivars such as Original Haze, Hindu Kush, Afghani No. 1, and Skunk No. 1 were established in California before their seeds were taken to the Netherlands in the early 1980s. As these cultivars were relatively stable seed varieties, breeders had a greater chance of selecting a favorable male plant as a pollen source for breeding. Cultivars such as Northern Lights, Big Bud, Hash Plant, and G-13 went to the Netherlands from the Pacific Northwest as rooted female cuttings. There were never males of these varieties, and, therefore, commercial seeds were all made by crosses with a male of a different variety such as Skunk No. 1, or more rarely by masculinizing a female cutting to produce pollen for self-pollinating.

When connoisseurs of North American sinsemilla comment that. All the Dutch varieties seem the same,? this should come as no surprise, since Dutch varieties share so much of their heritage. Of the nearly 150 varieties offered for sale by Dutch seed companies in 2000, 80 percent of them contain germ plasm that first came to the Netherlands prior to 1985. Most of the seed companies have continued to reshuffle the heavily stacked deck of original North American germ plasm, and since the 1980s few companies have introduced anything new. The perpetuation of monotony has been punctuated, only infrequently, by new introductions from North America or traditional marijuana- producing nations. Most seed companies have simply recombined founding cultivars from which breeders selected star clones to represent their seed companies in competitions. What goes around, comes around!

But where would we be today without the common building blocks of our common varieties? Many varieties have been tried throughout the years, and the persistence of the original founding germ plasm to this day is testimony to its desirability. If more potent, better tasting, and more productive varieties had been introduced, growers would certainly favor them today. In fact, seed companies generally introduce a new variety by simply crossing a new introduction with an established Dutch variety, itself built upon the initial founding varieties, and give the resulting plant a new name. As only a handful of North American varieties were used to make ?Dutch? sinsemilla varieties, they are usually potent and commercially lucrative, but often boring! The founding blocks of germ plasm used in most Dutch sinsemilla cultivars are described below by seed company, cultivar name, date of introduction, origin, and genetic heritage.

Among the earliest Dutch varieties were Holland?s Hope and Amstel Gold, which were introduced in the early 1980s and are still available today. Although these predominantly indica cultivars are not very potent, they mature much earlier than most varieties, as they were bred to grow outdoors in the Netherlands. Both were bred from selections of imported Afghan hashish landraces. The following eight cultivars were brought to the Netherlands from California as named seed varieties and were released by Cultivator’s Choice seed company between 1980 and 1983. They were relatively consistent when inbred or crossed and now make up part of more than two-thirds of the varieties offered by Dutch seed companies. Many of the Cultivator’s Choice varieties have been faithfully maintained since their introductions and are presently offered by the Flying Dutchman seed company.

Skunk No. 1 kick started the high-quality Dutch homegrown scene. Even today, nearly half of the varieties sold by Dutch seed companies have Skunk No. 1 in their background. Skunk No. 1 was first introduced in the Netherlands in the late 1970s, and immediately revolutionized Dutch marijuana growing. The Dutch, basically a hashish-smoking culture, attempted to grow marijuana both outdoors and in greenhouses throughout the 1970s. Mostly, their efforts met with little popular success and Nederwiet, literally low weed, was considered a joke among serious smokers. Skunk No. 1 changed everything. Under Dutch greenhouse conditions, Skunk No. 1 regularly matured and consistently produced high yields of potent buds, even when crops were grown from seed. Skunk No. 1 was originally a three-way hybrid combination between a Colombian/Afghan hybrid and an imported Mexican Acapulco Gold plant. This combination was inbred in California for several generations until the stable combination known as Skunk No. 1 resulted. Although indica makes up a quarter of Skunk No. 1 and contributes to its branchiness and compact bud structure, Skunk No. 1 is primarily a sweet-smelling sativa hybrid rather than an acrid-smelling indica, so the name Skunk is actually somewhat misleading. Despite its general uniformity, there are several different bud forms in Skunk No. 1, ranging from red, hairy buds with small bracts to large bracts with copious resin glands.

The Original Haze is a late-maturing variety from Central California and was almost always grown in greenhouses, allowing it to finish in December or January. Original Haze was always connoisseur stash, and even in the 1970s it sold for as much as $200 an ounce. Original Haze is a pure sativa stabilized hybrid arising from crossing all of the best females with a male of a different imported sativa variety each year. Starting with Colombian/ Mexican hybrids grown from seeds from the first crop, a South Indian male plant was used as a pollen source the second year, and a Thai male plant was used the third year. Depending on which year Haze seeds were collected, they resembled either Colombian, South Indian, or Thai plants. Original Haze varies in taste from citrus Thai notes through the gamut of sativa highlights to the deep spicy purple Colombian flavor most common in Dutch Haze cultivars. Although Haze has been available in the Netherlands since the early 1980s, it gained wide popularity only in the mid 1990s. Increasing levels of connoisseurship led to higher prices for exotic and flavorful (but later maturing and more costly to produce) Haze hybrids in preference to the redundant plethora of Dutch Skunk/Northern Lights type buds. Original Haze presently makes up part of about 15 percent of varieties available in the Netherlands, and its frequency is steadily increasing.

Both Afghani No. 1 and Hindu Kush are pure indica landraces from Afghanistan. Initially selected for dense buds and copious resin, they are true-to-type Afghan primo hashish varieties.

Early California is a very early maturing indica/sativa hybrid introduced in the early 1980s from California. It is relatively true breeding and stable.

Hawaiian Indica is a strongly indica, indica/sativa hybrid that has been used in several Dutch hybrids. Its primary traits are very large bracts and copious resin production.

Early Girl is a well-known commercial California seed variety from the late 1970s. It is generally leafy and of moderate potency, but consistently matures early. It was included in a number of the early Dutch hybrids. The following five cultivars were brought to the Netherlands from the Pacific Northwest as female cuttings and were introduced by the Sinsemilla Seed Company in the early 1980s. The Sinsemilla Seed Company is now known as the Sensi Seed Bank and continues to offer many hybrids bred from these original North American varieties. As there were no males of these female clones, they were always crossed with another variety in order to make seeds.

Northern Lights was well established as a Pacific Northwest indoor seed variety by 1978 and arrived in the Netherlands as four sister clones. Northern Lights lines eventually came to incorporate Skunk No. 1 and Haze varieties around 1980. Northern Lights was mostly used as a crossing partner to provide the furry resin look often associated with potent varieties. However, Northern Lights also tends to have very small resin heads, both in comparison to the length of the gland stalks and in relation to other sinsemilla varieties. Northern Lights is found in at least 10 percent of Dutch varieties.

Big Bud was established in the Pacific Northwest as a commercial indoor clone and was brought to the Netherlands in the mid-1980s. It is predominantly an indicatype indica/sativa hybrid and has very large, if at times leafy, buds.

Hash Plant is a Lebanese/Thai hybrid. It was originally offered by the Super Sativa Seed Club, but the Sinsemilla Seed Company cutting was brought from North America. It is a very strongly indica hybrid variety.

G-13 is a clone allegedly spirited away from the U.S. government pot farm in Mississippi. It is also a very strong, nearly pure indica variety.

Ruderalis seed was collected from weedy roadside plants in Hungary by the Sinsemilla Seed Company and used for breeding in an attempt to develop earlymaturing varieties. Although hybrids with Skunk No. 1 and other North American cultivars began to flower very early, they also expressed their weedy background, never stopped flowering, and matured unevenly.

The Name Game:
Tracing the varieties used by the seminal six Dutch seed companies is relatively straightforward. Seed catalogs usually tell the customer what landrace or North American varieties were used to create the seeds, and the founding germ plasm was often shared by several seed companies. With the appearance of more than ten new seed companies during the early 1990s, the situation became more complex. Seed catalogs often changed the names of the varieties used in breeding or omitted the pedigree information altogether. Competition between seed companies heated up, fueled largely by High Times magazine’s annual Cannabis Cup. The new companies were associated with some of the original companies and often incorporated the traditional varieties into their own cultivars, while also introducing new varieties that were quickly adopted by rival companies. Several seed companies appeared for only a year or two, and many others began to resell seeds produced by the major companies. It is easy to buy another company’s seeds and change the variety name, making it appear to be a new and different variety. Some companies mistakenly sold seeds resulting from crossing two hybrid plants, resulting in great variability, with few, if any, of the offspring resembling either parental combination. The most common and successful way for seed companies to create new varieties was to simply cross a good female plant from an existing variety with a Skunk No. 1 male. In general, the 1990s were characterized more by a reshuffling of the original deck of varieties than by new introductions of landrace or North American varieties.

Unfortunately, some early Dutch breeders made very poor selections from the initial seeds they were given. The most common bad selection was for copious red hairs instead of for large bracts. Red hairs are a sign that female flowers are present, but they are not in themselves psychoactive. A preponderance of red hairs indicates many, but tiny, flowers with little surface area for psychoactive resin glands to develop. Second, selection for dense buds having a good retail appearance led to the proliferation of nested bracts that feel hard when squeezed, but once again lack sufficient surface area to develop copious resin glands. The third common erroneous selection was for fuzzy-looking resin glands with long sparkly stalks, but small resin heads. All three of these unfavorable traits occasionally reappear in modern Dutch varieties and should be avoided.

Sometimes crosses have been released as new varieties, with a lot of introductory hype about something new and exotic before being tested by growers. When the new crosses are actually grown, they often prove to be substandard. These so-called ?varieties? usually disappear quickly because growers give them bad ratings. Most of the consistently popular cultivars have been around for several years, and many are still available today.

Fortunately, some of the more recent introductions from North America are markedly different from the previously available Dutch varieties. The T. H. Seeds Company, formerly known as the C.I.A. or the K.G.B., introduced several North American varieties in the mid-1990s. The most interesting of these is S.A.G.E., which is a Haze-based variety from the coastal mountains of Big Sur, California. S.A.G.E. stands for ?Sativa Afghanica Genetic Equilibrium, which is an appropriate explanation of the genetic background of many stabilized indica/sativa hybrids. Bubblegum is a well-known seed variety from Indiana that came to Amsterdam via New England in the early 1990s. Akorn, Heavy Duty Fruity, Mendocino Madness, and Stinky Pinky are all indica/sativa hybrids introduced as female cuttings.

Most recently, a series of wellknown outdoor cultivars from the Pacific Northwest has been introduced by Dutch Passion and Sagarmatha seed companies. They come from a single breeder and are called Flo, Blueberry, and Blue Velvet.

Brazilian landrace accessions apparently weigh heavily in many of the selections from the K. C. Brains seed company and in White Widow offered by the Greenhouse. The White Widow series may also have come as seeds to the Netherlands from the southeastern United States. Often a seed buyer cannot determine a variety?s heritage because the lineage is concealed or unknown. At harvest time, what matters most is whether the cultivar was appropriate for the grower and growing conditions, rather than simply its supposed heritage or fancy name. Many of these excellent new varieties hold great promise for the future as breeders continue to fine-tune them for indoor, artificial light growing.

The Origins of Super Silver Haze

•April 12, 2010 • 2 Comments

Super Silver Haze cannabis is a pure haze sativa crossed with skunk #One and Northern light cannabis strain to keep the unique sativa quality. Although the cerebral high of the sativa is preferred by many indoor growers aren’t too fond of the pure sativa strains. Sativa’s get very tall take a long time to finish off and produce skimpy yields. But by crossing the Haze the most powerful sativa in the world to non-dominant indica’s, it became possible to get the height and flowering time of the Super silver haze cannabis plant down to an acceptable level, produce more yield and still retain the unique sativa qualities of the high. Super silver haze is a great strain to smoke because of her floating sativa high. Super Silver Haze was the first prize winner at the High Times Cannabis Cup in 1997, 1998 and 1999 and also won awards at the High Times harvest festival. The effects when smoked are said to be more stimulating and uplifting than indica type of cannabis because of it’s C. sativa ancestry. Super silver haze is a great strain to smoke because of her floating sativa high. Super silver Haze is also used as a very effective medicinal high.

Flowering Period: 10 to 12 weeks

The Origins of Haze: / Article from Treating Yourself Magazine.

Sometimes it’s all too difficult to see the light through the ‘Haze’. In California during the 1960’s and ’70s there were two men who were known as the ‘Haze Brothers’ who are widely believed to have been the originators of the variety of cannabis known today as ‘Haze’. Described by Sam the Skunk Man as “R. Haze” and “J. Haze”, the two are said to be brothers who are responsible for the initial creation of the variety that would later go on to be a pillar in the breeding community. The brothers are said not to have set out to breed the plants specifically, but that the plants were rather chance hybridizations between varieties that happened to be available in seed form at the time the plants were grown. Many varieties were being introduced to the west coast at the time, some of which were obtained by roaming hippies and surfers who would bring cannabis seeds back with them from far away lands that they had visited for spiritual quest or surfing adventures. Before the two brothers ultimately had a falling out, and went their separate ways, with one reportedly moving to Mexico for some time, they left behind many a stoner with a story to tell from the infamous variety known as “Haze”. With various stories being attributed to the origins of ‘Haze’, the exact pedigree is something of a debate in many circles. Depending on whom you talk with (and for that matter, whom you believe) the pedigree of Haze is Thai x Columbian, with “The Original Haze” said to have genetics from India in the mix as well. But with that being said, there are various factions throughout the marijuana community who believe there is a touch of Mexican Sativa somewhere in there as well; along with the ever present debate on the role Jamaican cannabis has played in some of the more suspect Haze varieties on the market today.

According to ‘Sam the Skunk Man’, an early pioneer in the cannabis industry who is believed to have brought several outstanding varieties of cannabis from the United States overseas to Holland (including ‘Original Haze’), the ‘Original Haze’ was a pure sativa line, that did not have any hermaphrodite tendencies despite its Thai origins and it typically had an above average female to male ratio, in the 60-70% mark, with the best phenotypes typically being the later finishing varieties. Haze came in several colors throughout its early history, with purple, red, silver and other assorted colors mentioned as being available during that time period (incidentally, Sam the Skunk Man claims the Purple Haze was the best of the bunch). In Sam’s version of events detailing the history of ‘Original Haze’, he brought the variety to Holland in 1976 and all subsequent varieties of Haze there after are either directly or indirectly related through hybridization to the lines he originally introduced to Holland at the time. The taste and high of the “Original Haze” have been described by Sam as being fruity, reminiscent of root beer cola, chocolate at times with even colorful words like “sweet and sour” used to describe the numerous terpenes found in the variety of cannabis known as ‘Haze’. Sam has described the F1 ‘Original Haze’ as being consistent in phenotype expression but the subsequent inbred generations that approached the F5 status as “segregated into many different lines”. The strains period of maturation is also something of debate, with the now benefactors of the official ‘Original Haze’, The Flying Dutchmen( who acquired their stock directly from Sam the Skunk Man himself), listing the flowering times at 12-16 weeks. A former staff member of the Flying Dutchmen, known as Amsterdammer, has been quoted as saying he believed the ‘Original Haze’ was usually harvested around the 15-16 week mark at the Cannabis College, a museum/exhibit also ran by the Flying Dutchmen which routinely displays varieties of Cannabis held in the Dutchmen bibliotheca. The effects of the ‘Original Haze’ is described as a “Very potent, clear up, energetic high”, something typically associated with cannabis varieties with Sativa dominant traits. It is worth noting the ‘Original Haze’ held by the Flying Dutchmen has been stabilized, in other words it was inbred quite a bit upon arriving in Holland in the 70’s and therefore does not contain the same amount of diversity found in the original, “Californian Haze”. Touted as a pure breeding variety (the only pure haze available), the ‘Original Haze’ is recommended to use as “breeding stock” that will invariably improve the quality of your existing stock rather than as a variety that should be cultivated solely for commercial/recreational/medicinal use.

All of this above of course, is just one version of events surrounding the history of Haze. Another man, known in the marijuana community as ‘Old Ed’ is also said to have brought “Haze” to Holland directly from the Haze brothers in the 1970’s. With yet another twist to the tale, Neville Schoenmaker, an Australian Cannabis breeder (who is also the father of Dutch Seed Banks) is said to have received seeds from the Haze brothers as well. In fact, his ‘Haze’ varieties were obtained from seeds made in 1969 and allegedly represent the earliest known examples of Haze still available in the world today. Not surprisingly, according to Sam the Skunk Man, Neville had never even seen a Haze plant until 1984 or 1985 (Sam has been quoted as using both dates to describe this theory) when, again, according to Sam the Skunk Man, he had given Neville his “worst” Haze clone because he “did not trust” Neville. Interestingly enough, Sam has also been quoted on different occasions as saying he gave Neville a male clone of the ‘Original Haze’ and at other times has been quoted as stating it was a female clone. The facts, as per Sam the Skunk Man seem cloudy at best, and usually vary depending on the day he is recounting them. So not surprisingly, the exact details surrounding the acquisition of the ‘Haze’ which would later go on to change the face of modern cannabis breeding, is still somewhat of a mystery 30 years after its arrival in Holland. But, as previously mentioned above, another story (and the most reliable) has it that the Haze Brothers met with Neville and personally exchanged the real “Californian Haze” with the Australian breeder and original “King of Cannabis”. The ‘Haze’ had a storied journey upon arrival in the Netherlands, with many famous names, companies, and “organizations” taking part and/or having a hand in its development such as Sacred Seeds, Cultivators Choice, Sensi Seeds, The Green House Seed Company etc. Many of those companies are now bankrupt, no longer in business, mismanagement/ownership changes, etc. A lot of the original stock was assimilated into other cannabis seed companies, or in some extreme cases were simply lost. There may indeed be separate lines of Haze available to the public today, all of which claim to be the genuine article. Speculation abounds that during the development of Haze, which happened over a period years, that the exact pedigree of the variety is determined by the vintage year the variety’s were bred. In other words, different varieties were hybridized over the course of the Hazes development thus resulting in individual pedigree being ultimately determined by the season your particular Haze was hybridized. Haze has also become a generic term in modern times; used to describe numerous sativa varieties that share common traits associated with all sativa cultivars. There are varieties that appear very similar to haze, but have suspect histories and stories behind them that can lead the average man trying to keep track of all the lineages over the edge. Whatever the case may be, it is a documented fact that Neville’s lines of ‘Haze’ have gone on to play a pivotal role in the breeding of some of the most famous varieties of cannabis available in modern times. Varieties such as the world famous Super Silver Haze and others have dominated the various festivals throughout the years including the High Times Cannabis Cup, and can trace their lineage directly to the ‘Haze’ lines obtained and first marketed by Neville at The Seed Bank in the 1980’s. Continue reading ‘The Origins of Super Silver Haze’

The Origins of Cheese

•April 12, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Cheese originated in 1988-89 as one unique female phenotype out of packet of Sensi Seeds Skunk No. 1 grown somewhere in the Chiltern Hills.  This one plant produced impressively large buds and had a very distinctive cheesy odour.  It was quickly cloned and named Cheese.

Around 1995 a Cheese clone was passed on to Exodus, an alternative community living in Haz Hall on the edges of Luton.  Exodus organised free parties, championed the legalisation of cannabis, grew cannabis themselves and protected each other from the law.  They also started CANABIS (Campaign Against Narcotic Abuse Because of Ignorance in Society).  Because of all the people that passed through the Exodus community many clones were handed out to visitors and the strain continued to grow in notoriety.

For many years Cheese has passed around an underground network of growers in the UK, helped by Exodus and others, until one clone came into the hands of the Big Buddha.

The Big Buddha realized its importance and set about crossing the clone with a suitable father.  This he found in a traditional landrace, pure-bred Afghani that a friend had brought back from Afghanistan during travels in that area.

The result is a strain that takes 8 – 10 weeks to flower and is consistently a much better yielder than the original Cheese, and flavour and taste is well preserved.  Appealing fruity fresh smell, uplifting effect, highly pungent hence its name!

Big Buddha Cheese

In the UK cannabis scene, the Cheese has become one of those special and elusive strains whose name is almost synonimous with good weed. Its oldschool flavor and sublime effects have become a standout. Cheese was cloned only in the UK, so she remained a regional phenomenon. Based on characteristics of her taste and high, it is believed that the Cheese clone originated from 1980s Skunk and Northern Lights lineages. Cheese clones passed between many breeders and growers, and as they circulated, several breeders attempted to capture this variety’s special qualities in seed form.

Big Buddha crossed with the Cheese with and Afghan male plant. Then he backcrossed to the Cheese mother for two years. Big Buddha Cheese is a unique fast flowering indica with enough sativa influences to make this a truly classic smoke.

The plant exhibits more than one phenotype in her growth pattern, but all retain the important qualities unique to the Cheese – the special dank, incense-like aroma, the smooth distinctive flavor and the easygoing, mellow high, which settles in clamly and is virtually without a ceiling.

Big Buddha Cheese is equally well suited for indoor and outdoor gardens. Plants are ready in 7-9 weeks when grown hydroponically, and may take an additional week when grown organically in soil or in coco. Although she can be grown in an SOG system, BBC is better as a multi-branch plant, as the internodes stretch out during flowering to produce magnificent, elegant, slender kush-like buds. During the last few weeks, bulging calyxes and glistening resin production appear when the plant is fully ripened.

Outdoors, Big Buddha Cheese will finish in most parts of Europe well before the first frost sets in, but the yield depends on appropriatness of the climate. In the smell department, you have been wanred! Big Buddha Cheese starts to emanate a pong as early as the formation of the 7th node, cutting through most other smells, so Big Buddha advises taking steps to control odor both indoors and out.

Taste is where this variety shines. When properly dried and cured, the flavor has a special “dank” quality reminiscent of what good pot used to taste like – spicy, sweet, and kush-like. The high is very up. It can be consumed every day with little or no immunity or change in quality of the high, making Big Buddha Cheese suitable for both recreational and medicinal use.