It's true that not many true modern strains of cannabis exist. There are 'land races' from various regions of the world that are consistent enough to be considered strains, but still very few strains created by modern breeders indoors. There are many that claim to be 'strains', but precious few have even the 6-7 generations of inbreeding needed to validate that claim. Moving beyond F6 is a goal breeders can work for, but another lesser known one is 'open pollination'.
Open Pollinated means that the strain is consistant enough that any farmer can save seeds for the next years crop without extensive knowledge of the strains traits. An open pollinated strain can decline through bad selection of seed parents, but it would take quite a few generations of bad choices. Generally, the farmer gains enough experience with the strains traits in the first few seasons to successfully steer the strain towards improvement based on the local conditions. This results in a strain that is finely tuned to both the local conditions (terroir in viticulture) and the farmers individual cultivation style.
White Wizard is my inbred, Open Pollinated remix of the famous White Widow strain. It retains all of the traits I loved in the original Widow, while fixing what I considered to be weaknesses.
White Wizard is a sativa dominant strain inbred to F9 at this writing. Like most of my work, smells are big and White Wizard is no exception. It is basically sweet and spicy, but with a dark 'skunky' undertone. Plants grow aggressively with a solid canopy. Most have excellent plant structure with horizontally angled branches and very short stem internodes.
Plants are visually impressive with lots of visible resin. Trichomes sit high on the leaf and resin balls are large. Resin quality is distinctly sativa, (much more oily than sticky) though some have a stickier more 'indica' feeling resin.
White Wizard has a wide harvest window which allows the connoisseur grower to increase the quality by a big margin. The buds are resiny and solid early, but can hold on the plant for a month or more after new pistils stop forming. During this extra time, not much happens to increase potency or weight, but smells and flavors improve. Most importanly, it gives plenty of time to withold N and allow the leaves to turn 'fall foliage' colors. In my opinion, cannabis that has very little chlorophyll in it at harvest time needs no curing at all. It's ready to consume as soon as it's dry.
Leaves are large sized and catch light well. They are neither thin like a sativa, nor thick and leathery like an indica, but rather in between.
The quality of psychoactive effects is where White Wizard really shines. The high has been described by people with phrases like, "very thought provoking". "Smart weed". There is some creeping aspect to the effects, but the initial onset is felt extremely quickly. People have described an electric jolt running up the spine before exhaling the first hit.
White Wizard is more potent than it seems at first, which becomes noticable in the length of time the effects last. People are often distracted by interesting conversation for a period of time, only to suddenly declare, "wow, I'm very high".
Early attempts to hybridize indicas and sativas usually resulted in traits sorting into groups that inherited similarly. You'd have your 'indica' plants over here, and your 'sativas' over there. Indica looking plants would mostly have other indica traits. Sativa looking plants would have mostly sativa traits.
When I first grew the original sister clones of White Widow, I realized that this was a different kind of hybrid. Indica and sativa traits were blended intricately by the breeder. Other breeders were still struggling with crayons. The breeder of White Widow had mastered water color painting.
The White Widow clones were the first intricate blending of indica and sativa that I'd seen, but since then, I've achieved the same thing with other genetics. My plans for the future are centered around exploring the connoisseur blending of indica and sativa traits even further.
White Wizard history
I started making White Wizard around 2004. My daughter and I were reading L.O.T.R. that summer in anticipation of the coming release of the film. When she suggested White Wizard as a strain name, I knew we had a winner.
I began with cuttings of two different sister plants of White Widow I got from a friend who'd grown them from seeds he brought back from Amsterdam. I had no male WW, so I outcrossed by using a male of my strain, Triple X. I backcrossed nephews to aunts and grand-nephews to grandaunts until I had 7/8ths WW, 1/8th TX. During this, I had time to observe the original Widow cuttings and form opinions about what I wanted fixed. That guided my choosing males that had the good TX structural traits I wanted in the WW.
My criticisms of the White Widow were; it was a bit 'needy' or delicate, grew relatively slowly, didn't reach a very big size and had what I consider to be an unacceptably low yield.
The plusses of White Widow were much larger. Most every other trait was what I consider to be connoisseur quality; the bud stucture was very nice and individual flowers were quite large. The smells, tastes and psychoactive qualities were exellent in my opinion. A truly artistic, modern blend of sativa and indica traits. The improvements I had in mind would be mostly structural.* I decided it White Widow needed more, larger leaves, thicker and shorter stem internodes. In general, a better ability to block light, or 'canopy'.
By F6, at least 50% of the plants had what I would consider to be very good overall structure, and average yield per plant was way up from the original White Widow clones. I had retained the smells, tastes, colors and psychoactive effects of the original Widow, but improved the yield.
The original Widow clones had a number of traits I'd never seen before, but once I understood them, I was determined to keep. One was the ability to age gracefully. Buds were resiny and solid early in flowering, but could be held on the plant for at least another month. I started calling that a wide harvest window. You could pick early, or late for even better quality. During that extra month, the green leaves of the original Widow would fade and turn bright orange, yellow or red in an amazing 'fall foliage' display. I noticed that these colors really enhanced the fruity tastes of the finished flower.
After I finished the nephew-aunt backcrossing scheme, I began inbreeding. That's where I started counting the 'F's. F1 was produced by crossing select brothers and sisters from the 7/8ths WW-1/8 th TX seedbatch. In the IB7/8th (before F1), F1 and F2 generations, I used 3-4 females and same number of males. 4 x 4 results in 16 different combinations which I progeny tested at 8 plants per. That resulted in 128 plants, which was more than I could fit even flowering them in 20oz cups. So, I did two 'waves' of 64 plants each and saved cuts of the select plants to compare to the next wave. Two or three of the top 16 combinations were chosen and 20 or more seeds of each of those were grown out in one large, final batch for the move to the next generation.
So, in fact, three of the early generations had so much progeny testing going on that three grows were needed to make each generational step. Between 'IB7/8' and F2, nine grows were done. After F3, I layed off the progeny testing and started relaxing the selective pressure a bit.
Since then, I've been inbreeding each generation with a bigger percentage of select plants than the last generation, steadily moving towards open pollination. Including more plants is similar to progeny testing, but without going back.
Even though the entire strains originated from only two pistilate and one staminate plant(s), I included enough variation from the beginning to allow for steady improvement of traits through the generations. This is key to success in creating an open pollinated strain. A strain that is not as good as the earlier plants is a failure in my garden.
*Probably the outcross to TX resulted in some increase in potency.