Top 5 Landrace Strains from Southern Africa

Landrace weed strains are a rare find, and sought after for cannabis cultivators across the globe, and they are responsible for some of the most exceptional sativa dominant and indica dominant hybrids. 

Southern Africa, and the African continent, are home to some of the most interesting and renowned landrace strains, but the truth is that regions within Southern Africa do not have provisions in place to protect the intellectual property of our growing communities.

Table of Contents

What is a landrace strain?

The term landrace strain refers to cannabis/weed strains that occur naturally in the wild, and are usually limited to specific regions of the world. 

Landraces are the foundation for some of the world’s most loved hybrid weed strains, like girl scout cookies, which is a result of crossbreeding the famous South African strain Durban Poison and O.G Kush. 

Landrace strains have unique visual characteristics, structures, cannabinoids and much more, and cultivators need the strongest phenotypes hunted from within each strain in order to crossbreed and produce award winning strains with incredible medicinal benefits and recreational value. 

1. Durban Poison

Durban Poison is an internationally acclaimed cannabis strain, and is a pure sativa landrace strain that originates from Durban, in South Africa. 

This renowned strain has adapted to a wide variety of growing conditions, and prefers an outdoor climate where its branches can stretch (as it is a pure sativa) and plants can reach their full potential. 

Durban Poison can tower as high as 12 feet, and in most cases outdoor growers can expect their Durban Poison plants to be over 7 feet tall

Durban Poison plants yield buds with a tapered shape but a dense structure and provide an average THC percentage of between 15-25%. This South African strain provides a clear, focused cerebral high which stimulates motivation, creativity and eliminates couchlock. 

Durban Poison has a crisp aroma profile consisting of sweet and citrusy notes, with hints of lemon, and produces a great resin yield, making it ideal for shatter and wax applications. It is high in THCv, which has analgesic and anti-inflammatory properties, and it’s neuroprotective which means that it protects the nervous system. 

Durban Poison Weed Strain

THC

15-25%

Plant height

7-12ft

Durban Poison Yield

Around 350grams per square metre.

2. Swazi Gold

Swazi Gold is a strain that originates from Swaziland in Southern Africa with many tales of its potent psychoactive effects and high THC levels. 

Swazi Gold is a hardened cannabis strain that grows wild in mountainous regions of Swaziland, and exhibits typical sativa characteristics, with the plant growing tall with condensed buds. Swazi Gold nugs emit citrusy aromas, with notes of wood and pine. The flavour profile is sweet and citrusy.

Swazi Gold’s THC levels range from 18-27%, and its effects are fast acting and intense, with an initial headrush followed by a long lasting cerebral high, which can increase concentration, motivation and stimulate appetite. 

Swazi Gold may take 12 to 14 weeks to finish flowering, with a worthwhile reward of more 25 ounces (700grams) per plant. Each plant can reach a height of around 9 feet with the right training and support. 

This famous strain was also the subject of a Vice documentary as part of their Hamilton’s Pharmacopeia series, as part of a video titled Swaziland: Gold Mine of Marijuana.

Swazi Gold Weed Strain

THC

18-27%

Plant height

~9ft

Swazi Gold Yield

Around 350grams per square metre.

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3. Malawi Gold

Malawi is a landrace strain that originates from the Salima region in Malawi, and is better known as ‘Malawi Gold’. It has grown in malawi for generations, 

Malawi Gold is regarded as one of the most potent psychoactive pure sativa strains, producing a long lasting cerebral high that stimulates an energetic buzz and creative juices. The popularity of the Malawi Gold strain has led to an increase in tourism in the region, leading to the strain being listed as one of the “Big C’s” in Malawian exports. 

Each plant has a bold structure and sativa-like strain characteristics, producing tightly packed, dense nugs, with an average THC level ranging between 14-27% and a high resin content. Malawi plants can reach a height of 1.8 to 2m (6.5ft) and deliver high yields of around 600 grams per plant after a flowering period of around 13 weeks. 

Swazi Gold nugs smell sweet, with berry-like aromas and a toasty, earthy edge. Its flavour profile is crisp with forward citrus notes. 

Malawi Gold Weed Strain

THC

14-24%

Plant height

~6ft

Malawi Gold Yield

Around 600 grams per plant.

4. Power Plant

Power Plant is a strain with South African roots and is a sativa dominant strain made from African Sativa. Dutch Passion researched and formulated genetics for Power Plant in the early 1990s, winning 3 high life cup awards and attaining many other achievements to date.

After being released in 1997, Power Plant became a household strain in the Netherlands, and is still widely available in Coffee Shops across the region today.

Power Plant provides a euphoric and uplifting high, with strong effects that hit quickly and then transform over time into a relaxed buzz that can last several hours.

This strain produces high yields ranging from 500-600 grams per plant, with each plant growing up to 2ft tall and achieving THC levels in the 15-20% range. Power Plant can take anywhere from 8-11 weeks to finish flowering, and like any classic sativa, she will stretch when flowering sets in. 

Power Plant has an aroma that is woody, earthy and pungent. The taste is sharp and peppery

THC

15-20%

Plant height

~2ft

Power Plant Yield

Around 500 grams per plant.

5. Kwazulu

Kwazulu is a pure sativa landrace strain, originating from the Drakensberg ridge in South Africa. Kwazulu was grown by generations of Shaka Zulus and legend has it this strain was used as part of battle preparations prior to the Anglo-Zulu war in 1879.

With sativa roots, Kwazulu is best consumed during the day, or before it gets too late in the day, and provides a euphoric, uplifting and energetic high that allows users to manage physical and mental conditions in a way that cushions, and isn’t overwhelming.

Kwazulu grows well indoors and outdoors and is a mold and pest resistant strain, and has a flowering period of around 10-11 weeks, with a THC level of around 20%.

This strain produces medium to yield yields ranging from 400 grams per plant, and Kwazulu can reach a height of around 1.5m indoors and up to 3m outdoors. 

Kwazulu has an aroma and flavour profile that is sweet, citrusy, and fruity.

Kwazulu Weed strain

THC

20%

Plant height

6.5ft

Kwazulu Yield

Around 400 grams per plant.

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If you’re interested in learning more about the Southern African cannabis industry, you can also explore Birguid’s Southern African Cannabis Industry Report for 2021

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