Hi everyone. I am growing white widow. I chose this because it is a famous strain that has been around a while. Therefore, I thought that any seeds purchased should be genetically stable. NOT! After planting 70 seeds we came up with about 6 plants that we wanted to propagate further. Our THC has tested anywhere from 23 to 13 percent. Talked about this in another post.
My question is that most people do not like the taste of our bud. For discussion purposes let’s assume that my grow methods, drying, curing, etc. is OK. Is there anything about white widow that would make the taste poor in comparison to more modern strains?
I was thinking that in the early 90’s breeders were all about cannabinoids, namely THC. More recently, breeders have been able to maintain high potency while adding flavor. Is that the case?
Terpenes are taste and breeding for nose and total terps along with total cannabinoids is certainly the direction breeders are headed in. Breeders like myself also focus on disease resistance and ease of growing. It takes years but any traite you love can be breed until stable. www.Moonflowerseed.com
I don’t ever like to point directly to nutrients for anything because it seems to be what far too many people jump to when something is wrong, but as it pertains to taste, I would try adjusting/changing nutrients (after definitely taking a closer look at the cure/dry processes first). Take a look at organics: on a very basic level, organics often taste better because the plant has better access to all the micronutrients in better ratios, as well as a plethora of dynamic compounds that are produced by bacteria and fungi. You could maybe start adding biostimulants to your nutrient line, but I would always suggest just growing in organic soil instead of getting carried away with a hundred different additions that all need to be timed just right. Harley Smith has some good videos on Youtube that summarize some good biostimulant approaches.
I like that you are actually germinating a decent number of seeds at once though. I can’t believe that some people germinate a small handful of seeds and think they will be lucky enough to get a strain that is worthy of commercial production… (Not that it can’t happen, but you know what I mean.)
We should start another post about breeding techniques and credibility, because honestly I haven’t heard of a single breeding program in cannabis cultivation that even holds a candle to the standard in pretty much every other area of agriculture. All of our best strains seem to come from some average Joe getting lucky… It’s insane to me that even reputable breeders’ seeds from over seas will come out wildly different. Three phenotypes in a bag of 10 seeds? Are you kidding me?? And for how much money??? Seems to me that our industry is in its infancy when it comes to good genetics. Seeds should be cheap and consistent. I give it another twenty years, and I would be that very few people will be cloning. I hope so anyway! But it does make it an exciting place to be right now on the forefront of genetic development and stabilization!
I believe that would be the distributor. I am curious which actual seed company that the genetics came from. There are soooo many versions of the same strains out there it’s hard to keep up these days. When you go to the seed man website several versions of white widow pop up.
Yes as I recall white widow has a lemon flavor profile, or at least the version I can recall. How would you describe the flavor profile on the version you have? It seems like most of the buyers are looking for cookies or Kushy flavors that have plenty of gas. What market are you working in at the moment ?
We’re in Oregon. The bud smells like old school bud from 20 years ago. I don’t particularly like the smell but “earthy” is what other people call it. The only description from some customers of the dispensaries we sell to is that it tasted like chlorine. Many customers buy it and like it, but the ones who don’t are very vocal and are giving us a bad rep.
The seeds you thought you were getting were either an inbred line (highly stable) or F1 hybrid (all F1 progeny are genetically distinct, but phenotypically uniform). However, the seeds you actually got were likely F2, which expresses a wide variety of trait combinations - some that resemble classic WW characteristics, and some less so, but rarely would you find a plant exactly like the WW you know. Some of the F2 generation will be desirable and some not, so that’s your as a breeder to select the plants with the most desirable trait combinations. White Widow is quite tasty, so keep growing out those F2 seeds until you find the right flavor.
Thanks Todd. I’m sure your advice is right on. The one thing I don’t understand is with a strain that has been around for more than 20 years, they should be well past the F1, F2 stage. In that amount of time there could be over 100 crops of seeds. What do you think? OTOH, thanks for the heads up about the flavor.
F1 hybrids are maintained by maintaining parent lines as either clones (if parents are polyhybrids) or as inbred lines (stabilized cultivars; rare for cannabis, but common for vegetable crops). Each cross of a distinct parent line, whether IBL or clone, is an F1 hybrid, which is how seed producers produce seed and can be done infinately as long as the parent lines are maintained. F1s from IBLs are genetically variable, but phenotypically uniform. F1s from polyhybrid parents are genetically variable, but fairly phenotypically uniform with some segregants. Therefore, if a cultivar is from polyhybrid parents, you can’t just use any two WW seeds and expect to get the same results. When you cross F1 progeny (brother and sister from the F1 generation, you get F2, which is genetically variable and highly phenotypically variable. Each successive F generation gets more genetically and phenotypically uniform, until you reach F6 or F7 when you have close to 100% homozygosity, which means it’s highly stable and uniform. Advancing through F-generations is an intentional act and requires thoughtful selection for desirable traits. You could select for all the traits associated with WW and develop a WW inbred line, or you can take a WW F2 and select for other desirable traits and come up with a very different inbred cultivar using the same genepool from the two hybrid parents.
Thanks todd, you obviously know a lot about plant genetics which I appreciate. My followup is that WW has been around for about 25 years. I just assumed that the F number would be very high and therefore made up of only dominant gene pairs. Is it safe to assume that the seeds we got were not a high F number and not genetically the same as what was and is famous in Amsterdam?
Generally speaking, the F number matters when you’re speaking about a specific trait that has been inbred for multiple generations. I doubt the issues you’ve experienced are the result of a single gene, but multiple genes, and it is much more difficult to inbreed for multiple genes.
It’s also possible there are epigenetic factors at play which can influence the phenotype of a child without any change in its underlying genome.
The background to this is kind of tough for a mechanical engineer to digest. The terminology is overwhelming. Don’t you want to control more than a single gene when breeding? You at least want one characteristic from each parent wouldn’t you. If I understand epigenetic properly, it is all about gene expression and not DNA. Can’t seem to find a lot of info on plant epigenetics. It seems to be focused on more complex organisms than plants. Is this a big deal in plants? That would surely explain the disparity in seed uniformity.
Thanks Hunter, I might be in way over my head at this point.
So breeding is not a precision tool, generally speaking. Eventually, with sufficient inbreeding, you can narrow down the genetic diversity to a relatively stable place (IE dog breeds), but there will still always be some natural variation. It’s also harder to inbreed cannabis in general because the traits we’re selecting for are not apparent like they would be in dog breeds. There’s a lot of testing and guesswork involved.
As I mentioned, there are also epigenetic factors. These are more observable in animals (because the changes are more drastic), but the stress and events in the mother plant’s life play a role in shaping the seed’s phenotypic expression. For example, a mother who was malnourished during pregnancy will likely have a child who tends to get fat very easily, as their body holds onto all nutrients vigorously. In the same way, a stressed mother plant will likely produce stressed seeds.
And then there’s the simple fact that not all of us live up to our genetic potential based on our own growth. I may have the genetic potential to live to 150, but there’s the simple fact that I may not just because of the environment.
Right, the F-number only increases each generation of hybrid progeny is inbred. If you’re only crossing the same parents (clones or IBLs), F1 can be maintained. F1 is highly uniform, F2, the most varying, then greater uniformity as you progress after F2. So you’re assumption is likely correct. Epigenetic expression is likely, as Hunter described, however you can rule them out if you give all of your plants in the population the same exact environmental conditions.