Landrace Strains: The Genetics that Started it All

landrace strains

A single species of African wildcat is responsible for the offspring of every breed and color combination of domestic house cats. In a similar fashion, all the weed strain available today can be traced back to a few early landrace strains. A quick cannabis seed search shows the truly vast amount of strains that have been created by growers around the world.

Strains are the product of mating a male and female plant. You can map out marijuana strains just like you would map out a family tree. Landrace strains are the beginning of cannabis’ family tree.

Landrace Strains Definition

There are several variations on the definition, but I think pretty much everyone agrees on two important factors when classifying a landrace cannabis strains:

  1. the plant must be growing in the wild
  2. the plant has evolved to its natural environment

The second part is very important. When a cannabis plant is forced to adapt to a new environment over time it will stabilize and contain unique characteristics. It’s these unique characteristics that have allowed for the varied array of cannabis strains that are available today.

In addition to their psychoactive effects, these landrace strains were used to make hemp products like cloth, rope, and paper (source).

Landrace Strain Examples

Cannabis grows best in warm and sunny climates, so the majority of landrace strains come from areas near the equator. The following strains are not an exhaustive list of every single landrace strains, however, it does point out most of the notable strains. Once you understand the different landrace strains then some of the strain names still used today will make a bit more sense.

Asia

It’s believed that cannabis originated in central Asia. From there, humans brought the plant to the rest of the world. The very first strain is believed to have been lost due to cross breeding. Here are a few Asian landrace strains:

Thai – You may have heard this referred to as Thai Sticks. It’s a purely sativa strain with a fruity smell and taste.

Nepalese – This is an indica strain that comes from Nepal. Interestingly, Nepalese isn’t technically just one strain – it’s a collection of several various strains and phenotypes from the area.

Middle East

The climate in the Middle East is great for growing cannabis so it’s no surprise that several landrace strains come from this region.

Hindu Kush – I’m guessing you’ve probably heard the term kush before. It’s used in tons of strain names and some people use the term kush simply to mean good weed. Well, this is where the term kush comes from. More specifically, the term comes from the Hindu Kush Mountains where this strain was originally grown. This area is in modern day Pakistan and Afghanistan. Hindu Kush is an indica strain noted for its high resin production.

Afghani – This is a heavy indica strain. If you guessed this strain originated in Afghanistan then you’re correct.

Africa

The equator runs directly through Sub-Saharan African giving it an ideal climate for cannabis to thrive. Here are some of Africa’s landrace strains:

Durban Poison – This strain comes from the city of Durban – a port city in South Africa. This is a pure sativa strain with a sweet and fruity flavor.

Malawi Gold – This landrace strain comes to us from the country of Malawi in Africa. This strain is a pure sativa with a notably long flowering time.

Central America

Northern Central America has also produced a variety of landrace strains which you may recognize:

Acapulco Gold – This strain originated in the city of Acapulco, Mexico. This sativa typically has lots of oranges hairs.

Panama Red – Like the Acapulco Gold, this strain is noted for its orange hairs giving it the last part of its name. The first part comes from the fact that this landrace strain comes from the country of Panama.

Colombian Gold – Colombia is often thought of for their cocaine production, however, they are also the birthplace of this landrace cannabis strain. This sativa originated in the Santa Marta Mountains in Colombia.

Heirloom Strains Definition

Heirloom strains are the result of growers taking landrace strains and breeding them together to create entirely new strains (source). For example, Hindu Kush was mixed with Afghani to make Afghan Kush. Another example would be Afghani x Thai created the strain known as Northern Lights. From there, strains continued to be breed to make the hundreds (probably thousands) of strains available today.

Do you know any landrace strains I didn’t mention? Have you tried any of these strains? If so, let me know in the comment section below. 

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