Project V: Variegated Cannabis

Project V is the name of our endeavor to ‘pheno-hunt’ for the rare variegation trait in DJ Short’s Old World Genetics. The Rosaberry x Blueberry BX1 tester seeds that I received from DJ produced an amazing male possessing the variegation trait.

20161118_123325                        20161118_123334

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I plan to breed this male with some Vanilluna females in efforts to maintain and increase the consistency of this rare trait in my garden. The Vanilluna strain by DJ Short has been known to display the variegation train. The following photo is an example of the display of this trait in his garden and what I hope to find in my own:

dj short variegation
ABOVE: A variegated Vanilluna plant of DJ Short’s garden @OldWorldGenetics

This phenotypic (outward/perceivable) expression in this particular line of plants from Mr. John seems to be derived from the original landrace Afghani or Thai plants that DJ Short worked with but that is only my own personal assertion based on the variegation that I found on the male plant I have from DJ that was backcrossed to his original 4th generation Blueberry; also a product of his original landrace Afghani/Thai genetics.

dj short's genetic family tree

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I will soon be popping some Vanilluna seeds and hopefully we can find some females that display the infamous variegation trait. If so, we can then breed them with the Rosaberry x Blueberry [f4] male that I already have with the variegation trait and the progeny should be quite interesting. Not only should we be able to increase the consistency of the display of this rare ornamental trait but we should also be able to find the medicinal cannabinoid CBD in the chemotropic profile of that potential seed progeny. Beautiful medicine is the endeavor of Project V.

dj shorts vanilluna

Second Generation Genetics (JD Short) Instagram page
Unfortunately, the DJ Short’s Vanilluna strain is no longer in productions but there are a few discontinued packs available through select distributors. Contact Old World Genetics or Second Generation Genetics for more information.

https://www.instagram.com/p/6x7c8sporO/?tagged=djshortsvanilluna

After sprouting a few of the Vanilluna seeds from DJ Short myself, the Most High happened to bless me with one variegated sprout!

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Vanilluna variegated sprout 1

Again, after sprouting a couple of Vanilluna seeds from DJ Short (marked ‘VL’ in the photos below) I was blessed with a seedling that was highly variegated from it’s initial “ground breaking” arrival into the world!

Vanilluna variegated sprout 2

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A very nice addition to the garden indeed. Despite the belief of many individuals, that this variegated trait is a worthless genetic mutation that should be removed from my garden, I actually enjoy it’s aesthetic ornamental appeal, genetic history, and the rarity of this particular characteristic.

If I am able to chaperone the plant into maturity, Most High willing, whether it be male or female, I plan on using it for future breeding. However, if I am fortunate enough to have a female from this sprout, it would be an ideal partner for the Rosaberry x Blueberry [f4] BX1 male that I have in my library. Let’s see what happens.

                        

While growing the Vanilluna pictured in this Project V blog, I also came into possession of some Wild Thailand seeds. Of course, I popped a few.

Wild Thailand seed pack WOS
Within this pack of seeds, I found, so far, one plant that supported my original theory regarding the origin of the variegation trait found in some of DJ Short’s genetic lines.

Wild Thailand Variegated 1
Notice the “Yin-Yang” leaf variegation on one of the fan leafs

Wild Thailand Variegated 2                         Wild Thailand Variegated 3

Wild Thailand Variegated 4                         Wild Thailand Variegated 5

Wild Thailand Variegated 6

Although I of course cannot be certain of the actual origin of DJ Shorts original Thai genetics, it is interesting to randomly find the variegation trait in the seeds labelled “Wild Thailand” as well as in DJ Short’s Vanilluna strain that has “Purple Thai”, “Chocolate Thai” and “Highland Thai” in it’s genetics. Vanilluna was created from a female from the same seed stock as the Blue Satellite with the Blue Satellite and its seed stock being the F4 generation of DJ’s  Floral Line derived from the CT (Chocolate Thai) and HOG (Highland Oaxaca Gold) as well as the PT and Afghani. Being that I have yet to see the variegation trait displayed in a “Pure Afghani/Indica” plant nor in any Oaxacan (which we also in the library), and also after reading that variegation is often found in plant specifies found in the understory of tropical forest, I again have become more convinced of the high probability that the variegation genetic can be found in Thai/Laos genetics. More research will have to be performed in the near future to find confirmation. In any event, it is amazing to see both the variegated Wild Thailand and DJ Short’s Vanilluna together.

World of Seeds Wild Thailand and DJ Short's Vaniluna Variegated
Notice the similar “Yin-Yang” leaf variegation in the WOS Wild Thailand (LFT) and the DJ Short’s Vanilluna (RT)

The variegated Vanilluna looks amazing but is still too young to determine if it is male of female. I will be grateful for whatever my garden receives but it would be nice to see the female flowers that form from a plant with this display of variegation.

Vanilluna Variegated 1                         Vanilluna Variegated 2

Vanilluna Variegated 3

It is also interesting to see the variegated Vanilluna next to the non-variegated Vanilluna for sake of comparison.

Vanilluna variegated and non variegated 1

Vanilluna variegated and non variegated sprout 1                         Vanilluna variegated and non variegated sprout 2

                         

Vanilluna variegated and non variegated 3

As I previously stated, it would be very nice to see the variegated Vanilluna plant as a female. There are two reasons:

  1. PRESERVATION: According to a recent post by JD Short @secondgenerationgenetics (DJ Short’s son), the Vanilluna mother was “recently lost” and “soon be no more”.Vanilluna recently lost
    I have some excellent Vanilluna males selected for preservatory breeding but I would like to use this variegated plant, if female, to produce a Vanilluna x Vanilluna offspring that would also carry the infamous Vanilluna variegation.
vanilluna males
A few selected Vanilluna males.
  • EXPLORATION: I would allow like to used the variegated Vanilluna female to breed with the Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male that I have with some interesting variegation as well.
Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male 1
The Variegated Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male

This male displays some interesting and consistent variegation traits. I say that they are consistent because I have taken cuttings from the plant to remove the variegated parts which have all regrown with the reoccurrence of the variegation trait.

Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male variegated 1

Some of the variegation on this male plant has splashes of yellow and strawberry pink. This variegation display is reminiscent of what JD Short has called “easter basket” variegation as displayed on his “Black Rose” strain.

JD Short's easter basket variegation on Black Rose no.3

Obviously, my display is not nearly as stunning as JD’s but I still think there’s some potential in the seed progeny if I bring the variegated Rosaberry Bx1 Blueberry F4 male together with the variegated Vanilluna female.

Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male variegated 2

Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male variegated 3                         Rosaberry Bx Blueberry F4 male variegated 5

The variegated Vanilluna female performed very well and surprised me with her healthy leaf development. The green parts of the plant seem to create the energy that the white parts are unable to photosynthesize.

The foliage lacking chlorophyll was a very stunning ‘paper-white’ or had a slight yellow tint. They were also susceptible to necrosis (leaf deterioration/death) if the plant is overwatered. The variegated Vanilluna seemed to prefer conditions bordering closer to too little water rather than too much. After understanding the proper water balance, the variegated and white leaves became quite stunning.

  

Although many might like to attribute her interesting leaf patterns to a plant virus or “light-burn,” it would actually appear to be a genetic trait that we will discuss in some detail later. This plant was grown outdoors in full Sun and the intriguing flowers and leaves were a result of that energy and light spectrum.

The flowers that developed from the variegated Vanilluna gave an amazing display of colors.

The dried flowers were amazing in look and effect. This plant maintained the aroma and flavor profile of here catalogued description, as well as the effect. The colors were the only perceivable difference and they were very different indeed. It also makes me curious if there are any different cannabinoids being produced.

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

                 

Not only were we able to enjoy the flowers but seeds were also made. The seeds were made from of cross between a male Vanilluna from the same pack as the variegated female Vanilluna, rather than the male variegated Rosaberry pictured earlier in this post. We do have pollen from that male and hope to experiment with it as well in the future, however the Vanilluna x Vanilluna breeding produced some variegated Vanilluna F2 seeds.  Many of the seed calyxes maintained the same variegated patterns of the parts of the plant where they grew.

                

After making these seeds, it was uncertain what they would produce or whether the variegated trait would be passed on or not. Many individuals shared their own opinions but I decided to do some of my own research into the possibility. I found some good information and was led by someone online to a particular link.

In an answer to the question regarding variegation, “what makes certain plants have variegated leaves? Is this an adaptation for survival, the way cactus features are or the way flowers are built to appeal to pollinators?” The Horticulture Magazine stated:

Variation in leaf color arises because of a lack of the green pigment chlorophyll in some of the plant cells. It isn’t an adaptation to the environment, but instead it is usually the result of a cell mutation, and can be inherited (genetic) or occur randomly (chimeric). If genetic, the color change is stable, which means that if you propagate a green shoot from a plant with colored leaves or sow its seed, the coloring will reappear in the new plant. This applies both to green leaves with irregular markings (variegation), say in white and yellow, and to those of a single solid color such as gold or purple.

Horticulture Magazine

The idea that the trait could be stable and preserved was very exciting upon reading the above information. Further encouragement came by way of a heated discussion regarding variegation on the Instagram page of @unknowngrower. Many great bits of information came from multiple sources that participated in the debate but we all arrived a final conclusion. This conclusion came by way of the research of @unknowngrower and the answer helped to confirm the previous understanding on variegation provided by Horticulture Magazine. @Unknowngrower was able to contact a former Director at the Smith College who stated, in regards to a description of the variegated Vanilluna:

former Director, Michael Marcotrigiano, Smith College variegation albino chimera description of Safeeakh Farms variegated Vanilluna Old World Genetics DJ Short

This information and understanding  about the chimera-like nature of the variegated Vanilluna was not only fascinating but also true! After popping 12 seeds produced from the variegated Vanilluna mother plant, 11 of the 12 displayed some form of variegation or albinism. It would seem that, based on the part of the mother plant the seed developed on and the the pattern of that area of development, the seed would possess the specific genetics of that particular part of the plant. The idea of seeds from a chimera has profound implications, especially in regards to genetic diversity and the potential of the progeny. Many of the sprouts looked just like their mother did when she first broke ground.

This Vanilluna F2 sprout looks almost identical to it’s mother at this same stage in her life.

As the seedlings grew, their variegated display became much more pronounced than the their mother and their is a greater manifestation of white/albino parts than in the P1 generation.

  

  

These seedlings have since grown and developed some really peculiar expressions. Solid white foliage has become dominant in a few of the seedlings in contrast to the variegation of their mother.

I was surprised to find that two of the seedlings with the most predominate white leaves continued to grow after a month. I didn’t expect them to progress because of their lack of chlorophyll but they are doing well despite those deficiencies.

The two premier plants of the twelve, based on visual appeal, became even more vibrant when they reached the full sun. I noticed that the subtle pink color foreshadowed in new growth and main stalk of the plants became a much deeper fuchsia color when exposed to strong full sun. This cause me to make an association between the color expression and the light intensity which in turn caused me to do some reading. My studies led me to some really good information that corroborated my assertions. Aside from more scholarly sources, High Times even had a fancy article regarding this phenomenon in a 2016 article regarding ‘Anthocyanins‘.

It certainly appears as if the anthocyanins within the plants are responding well to the sunlight in attempts to mitigate the light intensity. Being that the sunlight is bringing out more radiant colors, I hope that this phenotypic expression will be passed on to the next generations. Most High willing, we will be able to move forward with these traits to make more seed stock and get some chemotype test results in order to better understand what we are potentially working with.

Breeding Goals
If the original Vanilluna parents of DJ Short’s Vanilluna (the P1 mother having been lost) were the P1’s then the variegated Vanilluna mother and the non variegated Vanilluna father would be the F1 generation, making these albino-like plants the F2 generation. We hope to find some nice selections and move forward properly with Project-V.


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