Genetics: Pure Kazakh landrace, intermediate domestication
Sourcing: Russian Landrace Bureau in Jambyl, Kazakhstan, 2019
Latitude: 44° N
Harvest: Early to late August
Height: 2–5 meters
Aroma: Intensely pungent and sweet, fruit, melon
Characteristics: Very early maturing, day-neutral ('autoflowering')
Grow Type: Outdoors, greenhouse
A pure Kazakh landrace collected in the northwestern Tien Shan range, specifically in the southern Qarataū, a name of Turkic origin meaning 'Black Mountains'.
Plants can exceed 4 meters and are heavily branched, with large colas that are denser than those of truly weedy ruderal Cannabis. Leaflets are predominantly narrow. Buds are intensely aromatic.
This accession originates from a broad region of eastern Central Asia that was among the earliest centres of Cannabis domestication. The crop was likely crucial to the first human settlement of this region's grasslands and desert oases. True wild populations are consequently impossible to identify, as the Russian botanist Nikolai Vavilov understood in the 1920s.
Cannabis is well-adapted to the desert–steppe of the Qarataū, with its meltwater-fed streams. The environment is similar to the likely centre of origin of the species, which is the Qinghai Plateau of eastern Tibet. This is where Cannabis apparently diverged from its nearest relative, Humulus, some 28 million years ago.
Archaeological finds from late-Bronze and early Iron-Age Central Asia provide the earliest evidence for the use of Cannabis as an 'intoxicant'. The nomadic and settled cultures to the west of Han-dominated China appear to have attached great significance to getting high, whether shamanically or recreationally. It's in this broad region that the THC-dominant subspecies, Cannabis sativa ssp. indica (Small & Cronquist), was probably first domesticated.
This accession is best classified as ruderal i.e., ssp. indica var. kafiristanica. Its very early finish, likely drug plant ancestory, and adaptation to drought conditons give it excellent potential for use in breeding projects. As a repository of immense biodiversity, it's invaluable.
NOTE: Seeds of ruderal Cannabis exhibit variable germiation rates.