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What are landrace strains and why are they so important? Many breeders shy away from native strains of cannabis. They can be slow to grow, produce smaller yields, and take a lot of TLC. But, cultivating and preserving these strains may actually be one of the best things we can do for the cannabis plant. Here’s everything you need to know about landrace and heirloom strains and why they are so valuable. 

The landrace strainis a cannabis strain that has developed over centuries in a particular natural environment. Different cannabis cultivars that have grown, inbred and adapted to very specific geographical location are pure cannabis strains.

Over time, these strains will have developed unique characteristics to better survive in their distinct climate. Said another way, landrace strains are indigenous cannabis plants.

While some are cultivated to make unique types of hashish or cannabis products, others grow wild in their respective countries. For example, native cannabis plants found in the Kush Mountain region are quite different than the native, wild plants found in Thailand.

Plants from both of these regions will also be quite different from the phenotypes abundant in northern and central Africa.

Landrace strains are important because of their genetics. If left to their own devices, the plants will evolve over millennia to make better use of resources in their particular habitat.

When left to the whims of nature, a cannabis plant is forced to adapt over time. All sorts of adaptations can occur,  from changes in leaf size, differences in color, and alterations in phytochemical production.

Cannabis ruderalis is a good example of wild adaptation in action. Ruderalis is not a strain exactly, but a subspecies of cannabis. Genetically, it is thought to fall somewhere between sativas and indicas.

Cannabis ruderalis is native to northern cold, Russian climates. Because summers are short, ruderalis plants have adapted the unique ability to flower automatically.

A traditional indica or sativa will only begin to flower when exposed to the correct type of light. Ruderalis plants, on the other hand, begin to flower when they have reached a certain point of maturity. They have also adapted to be much smaller than indicas and sativas, and ruderalis plants reach maturity much quicker.

If left to their own devices, plants native to different regions will develop more pronounced adaptations to survive in their locations. Over centuries, these plants may even evolve into a different subspecies. Yet, for now, landrace strains simply express unique phenotypes that make them better suited to survive their present habitat.

Source: Landrace Strains: What Are They And Why Are They Important?