Cannabis sativa is the scientific classification for all cannabis plants, but many subspecies of cannabis have been found across the globe. These plants are well documented and cannabis has shown that it can come in many forms. It is a species that is subject to a vast variety of traits and differences, the nuances between genetics make up what we today refer to as “strains” of cannabis.
The characteristics of common strains we have today are a combination of genetics that have formed dominant traits based on their environment, these original “Landrace” genetics have formed established genes over time, based on environmental selection. Only the strongest plants whom are best suited for the environment are able to produce seeds. Their progeny would then go on to repeat the process for generations, creating dominant genes in only a matter of decades.
The first cannabis plant was discovered in central Asia thousands of years ago and since then has been spread to many corners of the world by man. Our production of cannabis has led to a wide variety of types, each with their own distinct characteristics that have been homogenized over time whither intentionally by man or by natural selection. Hemp, A variety that grows long straight shoots with little to no terminal branching, is one of the first of many example of a type of cannabis that has been refined by man to exploit a trait (in this case fiber production). Cannabis plants today are often manipulated by man to become better accustomed to an indoor growing environment, however long before this cannabis was manipulated for its production of resin and flowers it was manipulated in nature.
This once famous illustration (above) from ‘marijuana botany’ of the cannabis family is now facing a new debate of reclassification,”Sativa” which was once meant to define only the hemp variety, would be reclassified to contain hemp and ruderalis varieties with low THC production, while “Indica” would replace the term for “Sativa” that produced smokable flowers, and “Afghanica” would replace the current conception of Indica.
Over a course of hundreds of years cannabis began to take many forms organically and from the help of man, to help produce the sub species we know today as Indica and Sativa. These two words are too often mis-used to describe the effect from smoking the flower or concentrates, but were originally meant to describe the growth patterns and habits gene pool to gene pool. Other sub species have began to be recognized and documented fully. One of these subspecies is Cannabis Ruderalis.
Discovered by Russian botanist D. E. Janischevsky outdoors in 1924 growing wild in central Russia, cannabis ruderalis had shown noticiable differences from other cannabis plants since its inception. Genetically it is not far off from its original counterpart Cannabis Sativa(hemp), however its similarities end at the genetic level as ascetically they are vastly different. Ruderalis comes from the word “Ruderal” meaning heart undomesticated plant or “weed”. Its thin, low laying growth style is much more shrub-like, it has smaller club shaped leaves with less blades than normal. It is able to withstand much harsher conditions than any other cannabis plant type. What truly made the Ruderalis cannabis plant so different from its relatives is how it flowered.
Cannabis flowers depending on the amount of night hours in a day. Most cannabis will flower when given 12 hours of darkness Ruderalis is unique in that it will flower under any light cycle, based on how long it has been alive since germination, thanks to the lesser light cycle of the enviroment that helped create it. Its common nickname is “Autoflower” because of this uncanny ability. Her flowers begin to set in within a month of growth from seed making for faster environmental selection and flowering times. As indoor growing increased in popularity there became a demand for autoflowering strains, but as people grew them they found them hard to manage with a much weaker potency than its more tropical relatives. Ruderalis has been continued to be bred to its
tropical counterparts to create stronger hybrids with more vigor. These hybrids have varying chemotypes and are easier to get large yields making them much more popular among today’s grower. Seeds of Ruderalis can be found at popular online seed banks, and you may even be able to try some flowers at your local club or dispensary.
The nitty gritty:
Ruderalis can withstand much harsher conditions than any other type of cannabis
Instead of flowering at the end of summer ruderalis will flower on any light cycle throughout the year
Ruderalis has naturally occurring low levels of thc, closely related to hemp
Ruderalis is easily bred with other species of cannabis
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