What Is Cannabis Ruderalis

What Is Cannabis Ruderalis?

August 03, 2023

You're probably familiar with the differences between indica and sativa cannabis varieties, but have you ever come across cannabis ruderalis? According to Jorge Cervantes, an expert grower and the author of The Cannabis Encyclopedia, there's a bit of debate among botanists about whether c. ruderalis should be seen as its own distinct species or just a subspecies. To shed some light on the subject of cannabis ruderalis and its fascinating autoflowering genetics.

Related article: Navigating Indica, Sativa, and Hybrid Cannabis Strains: A Guide to Finding Your Ideal Experience

The Roots of Cannabis Ruderalis

The term "ruderalis" is derived from "ruderal," a concept in the plant world referring to species that manage to thrive despite human presence or natural disturbances in their environment. Many experts believe that ruderalis might have evolved from indica genetics, adapting over time to withstand the challenging conditions and short growing seasons of the northern regions where it originally hails from. Cannabis ruderalis has its roots in various parts of Asia, Central/Eastern Europe, and notably Russia. In Russia, botanists coined the term "ruderalis" to classify certain hemp plants that had escaped cultivation and human intervention, demonstrating remarkable resilience in extreme climates.

Ruderalis is a type of cannabis that was discovered in central Russia back in the mid-1920s, so it's relatively new compared to other kinds of cannabis.  Now, what sets Ruderalis apart from Sativa and Indica? Well, it has smaller leaves shaped like clubs, and not as many of them. The way it blooms is also different. Ruderalis is what they call 'autoflowering,' which means it doesn't care how much light it gets each day to start flowering. Most cannabis plants need 12 hours of darkness to start flowering, but Ruderalis only needs about a month of growth before it begins to bloom, regardless of the light it gets.    Scientists think Ruderalis developed this autoflowering trait because it comes from a tough environment in central Russia where the growing season is really short. You might find some stores selling Ruderalis for testing, or you can find its seeds online. People have been working hard to mix Ruderalis with other types of cannabis to create strong hybrid plants. This breeding work has been going on for years, and they've made a lot of progress in increasing Ruderalis's THC content. So now there are many hybrid strains available that have Ruderalis in their genetic makeup.  I used to grow lots of grapevines in my time, and that experience taught me about the benefits of mixing different types of plants. Hybrids can often bring out the best in each other or help plants grow in places they normally wouldn't. That seems to be the deal with Ruderalis. When you cross it with other cannabis strains, you get hybrids that grow faster and don't need such a strict light schedule. Overall, this makes growing these plants easier and quicker.

Although cannabis ruderalis was initially considered a wild and untamed cannabis variety, recent years have seen it being brought indoors to contribute to the development of new hybrid strains.

Distinct Traits of Cannabis Ruderalis

When compared to its sativa and indica counterparts, cannabis ruderalis tends to be shorter and stockier in stature. At harvest, it typically stands between 1 to 2.5 feet tall, featuring a rugged and shaggy growth pattern that produces broad leaflets with a light green color. The buds of the ruderalis plant are usually small yet relatively dense, supported by sturdy and thick stems.

The standout feature of ruderalis lies in its flowering cycle, which is triggered by its maturity rather than being influenced by changes in light, as is the case with indica and sativa varieties. In most modern ruderalis hybrids, flowering usually commences within 21 to 30 days from the time the seeds are planted, irrespective of the light cycle. This unique trait is what earns many ruderalis hybrids the label of "autoflowering" strains.

Cannabis Ruderalis' Effects

Cannabis ruderalis on its own tends to have lower levels of THC, resulting in milder effects. However, its stability and short lifecycle have made it an enticing option for breeders aiming to harness its autoflowering characteristic. Ruderalis genes offer breeders the opportunity to create hybrid strains that autoflower, while also incorporating the enhanced potency and flavor profiles from its genetic counterparts.

In the world of cannabis, Ruderalis has emerged as a captivating discovery. Its distinctive characteristics and adaptive nature have allowed it to play a pivotal role in the cultivation of innovative hybrid strains. As experts continue to explore and experiment, the story of Ruderalis unfolds as an intriguing chapter in the ever-evolving saga of cannabis cultivation.


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