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What are landrace strains?

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Contents

  1. Where do landrace strains come from?
  2. Why are landrace strains hard to find?
  3. Heirloom strains
  4. How to identify landrace strains
  5. Popular landrace strains

Cannabis consumers today face more variety of choices than ever before. While there’s a cultivar for every occasion, all strains of cannabis available today can be genetically traced back to a handful of varieties, known as landrace strains.

Landrace strains are cannabis cultivars that have never been crossed by breeders, evolving stable genetics over centuries of natural selection and long-term exposure to their home environment. Cannabis is a highly adaptable plant and as generations of mankind spread throughout the world, so too did cannabis, becoming a “native” of numerous regions in the Middle East, Africa, the Americas, and Asia.

Where do landrace strains come from?

Cannabis is one of the oldest crops in history. The plant was first referenced in historical documents in 2900 B.C. by the Chinese emperor Shen-Nung. Known as the Father of Chinese Medicine, Shen wrote of cannabis in his encyclopedia of plant medicines called the Pen Ts’ao. Further archaeological evidence of hemp rope imprints on broken pottery indicates cannabis was already in use during the Neolithic period in China, about 10,000 B.C.

Cannabis is one of the oldest crops in history. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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Botanists trace all cannabis genetics back to a single plant first developed in the Hindu Kush region of what is now Afghanistan and Pakistan. This first wild cannabis variety was used in everything from ropemaking and clothing to medicinal and spiritual practices.

Ancient Greeks and Romans transported the highly useful cannabis plant west, toward the Middle East and Russia. Later, Germanic tribes brought it farther west while the Ottomans delivered the plant south to the African continent. In 1545, African cannabis species crossed the Atlantic with the earliest colonial expeditions, arriving in the Caribbean and Central America where it was used for rope, animal feed, oils for painting, and many other uses.

The highly adaptable cannabis plant flourished in many of these regions, naturally developing growth characteristics best suited to the diverse environments of Asia, Africa, and Central America. These were the first landrace strains, named after their country or region of origin, and distinguishable by the characteristics suited for their specific growing environments.

Why are landrace strains hard to find?

Original landrace strains are tricky to find outside of their home environment. Cannabis breeders in the 1970s and 80s began experimenting with hybridization, crossing landrace strains to create the first hybrids such as Skunk #1 and Chemdawg. Many breeders wanted to create the best strain possible, and the cultivation of new generations of cannabis diluted the original landrace genetics.

Cannabis breeders in the 1970s and 80s began experimenting with hybridization, crossing landrace strains to create the first hybrids. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The term landrace is also complicated because many of what we call landrace strains all descend from a single genetic origin. Technically the only real landrace strain is the variety grown in the Hindu Kush region where man first discovered cannabis.

Yet, the word landrace simply means “a local variety of a species of plant or animal that has distinctive characteristics arising from development and adaptation over time to conditions of a localized geographic region,” according to Merriam Webster. This makes it difficult to produce an Afghan landrace strain in Southern California, for example, as the growing conditions are entirely different.

When seeds from landrace strains grow outside the zone in which they evolved, they produce phenotypes, versions of the plant with similar genetics but characteristics determined by the growing environment. These differences can be seen in an heirloom cannabis plant’s stature, development, and chemical makeup. It may result in variations in flowering times, cannabinoid profiles, and terpene content. To continue the above example, while an Afghan landrace seed may still be from the original plant, Southern California’s dryer and sunnier climate will produce a very different phenotype than one grown in the Hindu Kush Mountains.

Heirloom strains

Heirloom cannabis strains are landrace strains with stabilized genetics that have been cultivated by humans for at least 50 years outside of the landrace’s original environment. Phenotypes of landrace strains become heirloom when they have reached genetic stability in their new growing environment.

Heirloom cannabis strains are landrace strains with stabilized genetics that have been cultivated by humans for at least 50 years outside of the landrace’s original environment. Photo by: Gina Coleman/Weedmaps

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The distinction between heirloom and landrace strains is sometimes muddled in the cannabis community, which makes finding genuine landrace strains even more difficult. Angola Red, for example, is a Latin American heirloom bred from a cultivar found originally in Africa, even though many consider Angola Red to be Latin American landrace cannabis.

How to identify landrace strains

Landrace strains are typically named after the region in which they developed. They are easy to identify based on how each variety has developed characteristics suited to its growing environment.

For example, strains such as Acapulco Gold (South America) and Durban Poison (Africa) grew close to the equator in warmer, drier climates. These plants grow to huge heights with large, dense fan leaves and longer flowering periods that take advantage of the plentiful sunlight. Cultivars such as Afghan (Middle East) or Hindu Kush (Asia) develop shorter plants with broad fan leaves that respond better to higher moisture levels and altitudes with limited sunlight.

Popular landrace strains

Many landrace strains still exist on the cannabis market today, both as seeds from reputable breeders and in consumable form in dispensaries.

Latin American landraces such as Acapulco Gold, Colombian Gold, and Jamaica’s Lamb’s Bread are taller plants with elongated buds, high calyx-to-leaf ratios, and abundant lateral branching. These strains typically have higher levels of caryophyllene and limonene, giving them a peppery, lemon aroma.

Middle Eastern landraces such as Afghan and Hindu Kush feature small, stocky plants with wide leaves and thick, fat buds notable for high resin levels. These strains give off the signature Kush aroma of pepper and pine due to their caryophyllene and pinene content.

The most well-known African landrace strain, Durban Poison, originated in South Africa where it was cultivated by indigenous tribes. Durban Poison grows to medium height with long, fluffy buds. Known for its sweet, fruity flavor, the strain has high levels of myrcene and limonene, as well as high THC content.

Asian landraces such as Thai and Nepalese also grew close to the equator, forming tall plants with dense branches; long, serrated leaves; and fluffy buds covered in resin. These aromatic cultivars feature high levels of caryophyllene and humulene, creating sweet and peppery smells.

What are landrace strains? Copy article link to clipboard. Link copied to clipboard. Contents Where do landrace strains come from? Why are landrace strains hard to find?

24 Best LANDRACE Cannabis Strains to Grow from Seed

Landrace cannabis strains sold at seed banks are often limited in stock quantity and quick to be discontinued due to the nature of obtaining the seeds (e.g. sources dry up). This list may change accordingly.

Balkhi

Flowering Time October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield High

Buy Balkhi Regular Seeds🌱

Congolese

Flowering Time 90–120 days
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield

Buy Congolese Regular Seeds🌱

Ciskei

Flowering Time 55–65 days; Early Autumn
Released By Tropical Seeds
Pack Size 5/10 seeds
Yield High

Buy Ciskei Regular Seeds🌱

Ethiopian

Flowering Time 91–98 days; Late November
Released By Ace Seeds
Pack Size 5/10 seeds
Yield Medium/High

Buy Ethiopian Regular Seeds🌱

Highland Thai

Flowering Time 18 weeks; Late December
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield 1–2 kg/plant

Buy Highland Thai Regular Seeds🌱

Honduras

Flowering Time 98 days; November
Released By Ace Seeds
Pack Size 5/10 seeds
Yield Very high

Buy Honduras Regular Seeds🌱

Kerala

Flowering Time November–Early February
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield Medium

Buy Kerala Regular Seeds🌱

Ketama

In the Rif mountains of northern Morrocco, Ketama is best known around the world as Morocco’s Hash Capital. The cannabis plants from Ketama are adapted to growing in the local arid conditions with barren, rocky soil and are naturally ideal hashish production plants. Ketama by World of Seeds are a high yield, pure indica variety chosen from a huge collection of seeds WOS brought back from Rif and reproduced. The large, fast-flowering, resinous buds are ready as early as September outdoors and give strong odors of the best Moroccan Hash. High resistance to pests, diseases and medium resistance to mold.

Flowering Time 7–8 weeks; Late September
Released By World of Seeds
Pack Size 3/7/10/12 seeds
Yield Indoors: 300–400 g/m2; Outdoors: 400–500 g/plant

Buy Ketama Reg / Fem Seeds🌱

Kumaoni

Flowering Time Mid-October–Early November
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield 1–2 kg/plant

Buy Kumaoni Regular Seeds🌱

Kwazulu

Kwazulu is a quick-flowering landrace pure sativa strain obtained from wild cannabis plants growing along the north-facing slopes of South Africa’s Drakensberg ridge, since maintained by World of Seeds. An incredible cultivar that flourishes in various climates, Kwazulu seeds are easy to grow both indoors and outdoors, being ready to harvest in October for the northern hemisphere. Yields competitive quantities of mold resistant, big sweet buds tested up to 20% THC.

Flowering Time 8-9 weeks; Mid-October
Released By World of Seeds
Pack Size 3/7/10/12 seeds
Yield Indoors: 350 g/m2; Outdoors: 450–500 g/plant

Buy Kwazulu Reg / Fem Seeds🌱

Lebanese

Flowering Time Early September–Early October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield High

Buy Lebanese Regular Seeds🌱

Malana Cream

Flowering Time Late September–October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield High

Buy Malana Cream Regular Seeds🌱

Malawi Gold

Flowering Time 14–16 weeks; Long flowering
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield High

Buy Malawi Gold Regular Seeds🌱

Manipuri

Flowering Time Mid-December–Mid-January
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield Medium/High

Buy Manipuri Regular Seeds🌱

Mazar-I-Sharif

Flowering Time 60–82 days; October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield Indoors: 300 g/m2; Outdoors: 1.5–2 kg/plant

Buy Mazar-I-Sharif Regular Seeds🌱

Nepalese

Flowering Time Mid-October–November
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield 1 kg+/plant

Buy Nepalese Regular Seeds🌱

Pakistan Chitral Kush

Flowering Time 8–9 weeks; End of September
Released By Cannabiogen
Pack Size 1/3/5/10 seeds
Yield Medium

Buy Pakistan Chitral Kush Reg / Fem Seeds🌱

Pakistan Valley

Pakistan Valley by World of Seeds is a selectively-bred pure indica strain sourced from the Hindu Kush mountains of northern Pakistan. A favorite hardy indica strain for indoor growers, Pakistan Valley seeds grow into fast flowering, compact plants with many side branches. Shows good resistance to drought and moderate resistance to mold and pests. Outdoors the bulky plants are ready to harvest around early October in northern areas. The pungent resinous buds of Pakistan Valley have been measured containing 21.2% THC and give a strong, sedative high.

Flowering Time 45–55 days; Early October
Released By World of Seeds
Pack Size 3/7/10/12 seeds
Yield Indoors: 400 g/m2; Outdoors: 500–600 g/plant

Buy Pakistan Valley Reg / Fem Seeds🌱

Parvati

Flowering Time Mid-October–Early November
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield 1–2 kg/plant

Buy Parvati Regular Seeds🌱

Sinai

Flowering Time Late September–Early October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield High

Buy Sinai Regular Seeds🌱

Syrian

A hardy landrace cannabis variety adapted to hot desert summer days and cold nights, Syrian strains share similarities to Lebanese landraces from Bekaa Valley, likely due to Syria’s long tradition of cannabis cultivation, particularly in the mountainous western region bordering Lebanon. Two main phenotypes can be found, a most desirable indica ideal for hash making that stays near 3 feet tall and a more feral sativa that gets up to 5 feet high. Syrian plants benefit from dry periods between watering and the ideal phenos produce dense, “hash plant” buds packed with shiny crystals that give a positive, inspiring and relaxing high. Seeds obtained via local gene bank.

Flowering Time September–October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield Medium

Buy Syrian Regular Seeds🌱

Tirah

Flowering Time Late September–October
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield High

Buy Tirah Regular Seeds🌱

Ukhrul

Flowering Time December–January
Released By The Real Seed Company
Pack Size 5/12 seeds
Yield Medium/High

Buy Ukhrul Regular Seeds🌱

Wild Thailand

Wild Thailand is a potent pure sativa strain from the Koh Chang district in Thailand. The genetics have been inbred by local farmers to produce plants with a shorter flowering time with higher yields, and show a high pest and mold resistance. Outdoors, Wild Thailand seeds grow into big plants that finish around late-November. Indoors, growers may want to switch to flowering cycle quickly to control the stretchy growth tendencies of Wild Thailand. The exotic citrus-flavored buds contain a very high 22.3% THC content including THCV which tropical Southeast Asian sativas are renowned for. Racy, euphoric high.

Flowering Time 75–90 days; End of November
Released By World of Seeds
Pack Size 3/7/10/12 seeds
Yield Indoors: 300 g/m2; Outdoors: 450–500 g/plant

Buy Wild Thailand Reg / Fem Seeds🌱

Your Own Strain Hunt

While the strains on this list can be purchased at an online cannabis seed bank, another fun aspect of growing and breeding is finding your own rare cannabis genetics around the world in person. For example, here’s a Lao sativa that I saw growing in the Bolaven Plateau, near Pakse, Laos. It’s got very long “finger” leaves and the buds give you a speedy, trippy high. More photos on my Tumblr. There’s a lot of interesting genetics out there that you can make unique hybrids with or just enjoy pure.

9 thoughts on “24 Best LANDRACE Cannabis Strains to Grow from Seed”

Born 1954 & raised in Vancouver BC, Started puffin Weed in 1966′ age 12, My Buddies Older Brother went down to 4th. ave in Kitsilano and scored off the hippies….back then it was all Compressed Kilos of seed weed Mexican,
Seemed like they just tossed in handfuls of seeds in the bricks, we even found Peyote buttons in them….Then Some sensimilla made its way up Gorraro, Yucatan Panama even Acapulco, then different kinds of Columbian Gold Chocolate. There was actually homegrown weed being sold here in the early ’70s it was pounds and pounds of leaf with no bud in it…This gave homegrown a bad name that took many years to break out from. The Jamaican came in so hard-pressed we would heat it up with microwave to get it apart, bout that time the odd bit of super Californian bud was sneaking its way up …and some Maui Wowie made its way across the Pacific from Hawaii into Van. Then the untied Thai was coming in massive loads on mother ships …there was one load that was in vac-packed kilos with paper tags in them with an Eagle on it and it was the kill …lol…Outdoor finally cleaned up its act got organized and up to the times and started pumping out seedless bud …then around 1984//85 people slowly started growing indoor weed here, and It’s popularity took off like wildfire. In the beginning, LB.’s were going for 36 hun. The last big load of untied Thai came in about that time and didn’t do to well the indoor was all the rage. As the years passed if was all indoor and outdoor which kinda peaked at around 23 and then the teens …when 9-11 happened in 2001 the boarders tightened up and we came to a grinding halt on the exports south which caused a huge glut and prices fell dramatically ….In the past couple years to now, the outdoor hit an all-time low around 500/lb and the indoor anywhere from 900 to mid-range kushes etc around 12-14 hun and the high ends /Trip.s up to 17 & 18 hun/lb….
…Then there is the “”Turn Hashish into Ashe’s”” Saga … But I’ll save something for tomorrow … East Van Guy.

Awesome story Albert what a read thanks for posting that here! Please do share more when you can 🙂

legendary historian and storyteller!

Yea. . . great story.. . wish your wrote more 🙂

Yo, awesome story and basically all true old timer. Your awesome dude! Keep on telling!

that was nice. awesome concept for a podcast.

We started in high school with Mexican weed that had a high concentration, also, of seeds. Then came “sinsemilla” from Mexico which was easier to roll and of better quality, coming in from San Diego in kilos. We were then treated to indoor growers in 1971, one growing an African strain that had black, sticky buds that oozed when squeezed (never got to smoke it tho) and one who took the Santa Marta Gold seeds and produced a variety of outdoor and indoor buds, some being called laughing weed as we could not stop laughing when smoking and others that just tasted so nice that those Colombian seeds were the rage. One friend of a friend was arrested in S.F. for trafficking coke and called us, instead of his lawyer, cuz his experimental cross breeding in Oregon of all the Humboldt county seeds he collected, some with Hawaiian strains in the mix, were more important to him to keep from the DEA. We were treated to all those cross breeds as he put a bud and respective seeds in baggies with notes about their origins. We rolled joints and tasted the changes in strains as we smoked down the reefers. All the while, thai weed in stick form came with Panama Red and Alcupulco Gold. And then the bear cage hash was found by a hunter, or two, as the story goes, smuggled in square tubed bear caged, three i believe, and one broke open, losing both bear(s) and cargo. The hash was almost black with opium white streaks in the compressed fingers.

a lot of them good old school strains are gone now. i guess im very lucky to have some 1970s original colombian gold seeds still left

Landrace cannabis seeds list of pure landrace sativa and landrace indica strains to buy in 2021. While many old-school landrace strains are hard to find