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Cannabis Ruderalis has humbly remained an underdog out of the three major marijuana genetic categories. However, it is effectively making its name known and gaining well earned respect by bringing autoflowering genes to the table.
When thinking of cannabis strains, one of the first places the mind goes to are the two predominant categories of cannabis: Indica and sativa. These genetic sub-sections are no stranger to those who like to know what they are ingesting and exactly how it will affect them.
We know sativa plants are tall, feature slim leaves and are usually cultivated outdoors. Sativa strains are associated with energetic highs, mostly applied during daytime when there are jobs to be done.
Indica on the other hand is known by many to be a short plant, sporting wider leaves and suitably adapted to indoor cultivation. Indica strains are linked with more of a relaxing effect typically associated with nighttime use.
Knowledge of these two genetic giants is extremely useful to have on hand when honing in on a specific psychotropic experience. However, the popularization of these two categories has left out another genetic avenue that has transformed the world of cannabis cultivation and strain creation: Ruderalis.
RUDERALIS: THE RUGGED “WEED”
The third genetic type that many strains and hybrid strains fall under is that of Cannabis ruderalis. This subspecies rarely grows over two feet in height and features a thin, fibrous stem with small amounts of branches growing from it. Ruderalis is often lower in THC in its resin and is known for its high cannabidiol (CBD) content.
The very term ruderalis is born out of the Latin word rudera, plural form of rudus, which translates into english as “rubble”. This is a demonstration of this subspecies’ weedy nature, as are the hardy and cold climates it will tolerate.
Botanists describe a ruderal species as a plant species that is the first on the scene after disturbances occur in the land, almost like an ecological recovery squad. Such disturbances may range from avalanches and wildfire to construction and mining.
Whereas sativa and indica strains have their origins rooted to south central Asia, ruderalis is known to be native to Russia, also found growing in the hardcore climate of the northern Himalayas. The genetics of this plant have been found to be somewhere on the spectrum between those of indica and sativa varieties.
Ruderalis has received its underdog status primarily due to its genetic makeup. It contains such small concentrations of THC that it is not cultivated as a recreational strain. On the flip side, the amount of CBD contained within this subspecies does give it the potential to be cultivated for the medicinal qualities that this particular cannabinoid is demonstrating.
However, ruderalis does harbour one genetic factor that is nudging it closer to the limelight and, perhaps, into the same pantheon of fame as indica and sativa strains.
AN AUTOFLOWERING GAME CHANGER
Ruderalis really shines its potential when we consider how it can be utilised for breeding and growing purposes. Ruderalis genetics are often bred into strains to control certain factors of the plant, such as the size it will reach in a growing period and how quick that period will be from germination to harvest.
However with these factors aside, the biggest effect that ruderalis has had on marijuana cultivation, and the market as a whole, is its nature of flowering automatically, which has led to the creation of many auto-flowering strains.
Sativa and indica strains actually require a shift in lighting to catalyze the bloom period. Such factors as type of light and quantity of light provided will force these subspecies into bloom. Yet ruderalis plants are autoflowering, blooming begins regardless of the current light cycle exposure.
These genes have enabled growers to introduce this blooming behaviour into their strains, creating a more effective, prolific and popular product.
Autoflowering weed plants flower independently in around 2-4 weeks. The autoflowering aspect is thought to be derived from the fact that Ruderalis originates from regions where the summers are considerably short, yet hours of daylight extremely long, ranging from 22 to 24 hours per day.
Autoflowering plants have made big changes in the arenas of hybridization and home cultivation. This trait allows a small window between sowing and harvest and allows an aspect of carelessness due to its forgiving need for lighting. For this reason, such strains have become very popular for beginner growers and have made a boom in the seed market.
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