BLUEBERRY CANNABIS STRAIN: A HISTORY
Seedsbank looks into the history of one of the most beloved cannabis strains in the world today, the Blueberry. When DJ Short began experimenting with landrace sativas from the most exotic corners of the globe, little did he know that he would create a ground-breaking strain that would stand the test of time and remain a favourite in the cannabis world.
The Blueberry Cannabis strain is without a doubt one of the most exquisite and colorful cannabis hybrids available in seed form today. The history of the strain takes us back to the West Coast of the United States sometime during the 1970’s, where a breeder named DJ Short was working on a multitude of exotic landrace sativas from places like Colombia, Panama, Mexico and Thailand. He was growing up to 100 plants at the time, both indoors and outdoors, on constant lookout for desirable traits in the individuals. Needless to say, he sampled a great number of plants until he found what he was looking for. In his own words, one plant out of one hundred grown carried the traits that he was looking for and then there was still the complicated matter of working with plants that are naturally prone to hermaphroditism, like most pure sativas are to some degree. His efforts would eventually yield fruit and give birth to some of the most highly regarded strains in the world today.
His extensive research led him to the discovery of two very special sativas. According to the master breeder himself, the first plant was a highly potent all-around champion, “Juicy Fruit” Highland Thai female. It packed a very sweet tropical punch and an intense high that lasted for many hours. The second plant was a Purple Thai out of Oregon, Ohio. This plant was a cross between an outstanding Highland Oaxaca Gold and a very freaky Chocolate Thai. The hybrid was very dark colored and would express a deep royal purple color at the slightest exposure to cold. The finished product was equally tasty and strong as the Juicy Fruit female. Although both plants were equally matched when it came to potency, the Purple Thai became DJ Short’s personal favorite. It was emotionally kinder than the Juicy Fruit Thai, which was so strong that it could in large doses evoke terror in the smoker. These two old school “Thai Stick” sativas make up the female pedigree of all the DJ Short strains.
The male that DJ Short used was an Afghani indica that was brought to his attention in 1979 by some growers from California. Although the indica plant was something of a novelty at that time when sativas ruled the grow rooms, it soon became apparent that the plant was here to stay. Growers could grow more herb that finished faster than before by combining the indica genes with old school sativas. In a way this also meant the end of the sativa dominant era that eventually lead to the disappearance of many pure sativa lines that either became hybridized or lost all together. The indica plants were very uniform, short and symmetrical, with thick hairy stems and wide leaf. They were dark green in color with tight, compact nodes and very dense floral clusters that packed an earthy and skunky aroma. The novelty soon wore off as the indica by itself was powerful but lacked the sophistication and complexity of the pure sativas. The indica plant did however contribute to the genetic diversity of modern cannabis plants, which allowed growers more control.
Now with these plants in his repertoire, DJ Short applied his knowledge of breeding and created new floral lines using the three plants that he had discovered. Soon enough he established his two best known strains; namely Blueberry and Flo. Flo was discovered within the initial floral lines where the Oregon Purple Thai was crossed to the indica male. Working further along those lines, DJ Short created the Blueberry Cannabis strain by crossing the earlier lines to Juicy Fruit/Afghani hybrids. This means that there is a little of both the sativa mothers in the Blueberry while there is only Purple Thai in the Flo. DJ Short himself explained that some traits were more accessible through the Purple Thai, while others could be found by further crossing the plant to the Juicy Fruit Thai hybrid. The Original Blueberry was bred towards an indica expression although a more sativa dominant plant was also worked on and later refined into what we today know as the Blueberry Sativa.
During the 1980’s and early 1990’s, DJ Short continued to perfect his already highly refined strains. Around 1993 he travelled to Europe to work for the Sagarmatha Seed Company. By 1995 he was supplying this company with seed stock both for sale and for breeding purposes. He was little involved in the selection process but had contracted this company to produce Blueberry, Flo and Blue Velvet; a cousin to the Blueberry that was an even expression of both the indica and sativa parents. Although Blue Velvet is no longer available, Sagarmatha still offer DJ Short’s creations under the names Blueberry Bud and Flow, as well as some more recent hybrids. The relationship with the company was brief and DJ Short moved on to work for another company, Dutch Passion.
DJ Short supplied Dutch Passion with seeds although he was for some reason left out of the selection process once again. On top of the older and established strains, he also created several new ones like Blue Heaven, Blue Moonshine and Purple Passion. Now out of stock, Blue Heaven was a very consistent purple variety, mostly sativa in its expression and with prominent medicinal qualities. Purple Passion was an indica/sativa hybrid that displayed beautiful blue and purple shades, with buds that turned lavender blue to aubergine in color during flowering. The beautiful colours of all DJ Short’s strains have become trademarks but also remind us of the exotic origin of all his strains. Today Dutch Passion still offer some of DJ Short’s masterful creations; namely Blueberry, Original Flo and Blue Moonshine, which is a wonderfully resinous and potent, mostly indica cousin to the Blueberry plant.
Around the same time as DJ Short was working with Dutch Passion he also got to know a Swiss breeder named Steve, who is also the owner of the Spice of Life seed bank. During the following years in 1999-2001 DJ Short started working together with Breeder Steve, selecting plants from a large pool and several new strains were born; namely Moonshine Rocket Fuel, Rosebud and Blue Satellite. Moonshine Rocket Fuel was a very potent hybrid, containing the best of Blue Moonshine and Blue Velvet. Rosebud on the other hand was a truly exceptional plant that was mainly grown for its wonderful aesthetic value but also for its amazing floral scent. This unique phenotype of Flo had tops that actually formed a rose bloom shape from leaves that turned bright red and then faded to yellow. There was very little harvestable bud on this plant, so it never made any commercial success although it was breathtakingly beautiful and highly exotic. Equally exotic was the Flodica, a rare and pure indica expression of Flo, found by chance in the true floral line. However intriguing these exotic varieties might have been, the best known strain to come from skilled hands of these two master breeders was, and is still, the Blue Satellite.
This is where the Blueberry Sativa comes into play. It was developed sometime in the early to late 1980’s and purely bred by DJ Short until he shared some seeds with Breeder Steve from the Spice of Life seed bank. Numerous mothers and fathers were selected and kept for breeding purposes and were eventually used to make the Blue Satellite strains by combining Breeder Steve’s Shishkeberry male to the Blueberry Sativa mother for the first version of the plant and his Sweet Tooth indica for the final versions. Breeder Steve also combined a variety of Blueberry plants that was given to him by DJ Short to some of his own strains, including his famous Sweet Pink Grapefruit and Sweet Skunk. He created many new strains that he still offers in seed form today. All of their joint projects have yielded wonderful plants that testify to the skill of these two breeders.
More recently, DJ Short has also worked with other highly skillful breeders like Red from Legend Seeds and Chimera, combining several different lines of the Blueberry plant to already well established strains. Many of the strains have the same Blueberry Sativa father, known only as B130. The B130 male was a an exceptional father, a very Purple Thai dominant sativa that has since then passed on and no longer exists, making some of their joint releases limited editions. Many of these strains combine highly refined genetics to the Blueberry, ranging from Neville’s Haze to Sweet Skunk to the original 20 year old Cali-O orange bud. All of these hybrids deserve a second look.
The joint releases from Spice of Life, Legend Seeds and Chimera are far too many to mention here but some of the new strains require special attention. Like the Legends Ultimate Indica and DJ Short’s own True Blueberry and F-13. True Blueberry is a re-worked version of old Blueberry genes and the F-13 is considered the peak expression of the Blueberry Sativa and Flo. The Holy Grail of all DJ Short’s creations if you will and also his own personal favorite. Choosing between the Original and True Blueberry can be difficult but according to the master himself; both are equally potent and prone to color changes. The True Blueberry is called the ultimate hybrid of Blueberry expression, selected for its superior quality from a larger gene pool. Where the original Blueberry is mostly indica, this new hybrid contains the best from both worlds, and is both indica and sativa in expression. Although related, the True Blueberry was selected from different stock than the current Original Blueberry, and is slightly more productive. The Original Blueberry can be called a “Stretch-Indica”, in that she tends to stretch her nodes but her buds are very compact with larger calyx structure. The True Blueberry is more of a sativa bloomer on a indica looking plant. The bouquet of the original Blueberry is a more candy sweet and fruity smell while the True Blueberry has a higher nasal palate with anise undertones. Both plants are however exceptional in both scent and taste, thanks to the exotic stock used to create both strains. The high of the “True Blue” is also slightly more racy and cerebral than the narcotic, though not “couch-lock”, body stone of the original version. Naturally there is a range of plants to be found within either strain but one thing is certain; all of them will have long shelf life, improving with age like fine wine. The first version of the True Blueberry was also fathered by the now extinct B130 male and can therefore be considered a limited edition of this famous plant.
Some of DJ Short’s more recent creations are Grape Krush, Vanilluna (Vanilla Moon) and Cocoa Kush. The Cocoa Kush displays a structure, and other properties, familiar to Kush enthusiasts. Both Vanilluna and Cocoa Kush have the same Blueberry Sativa mother as the Blue Satellite and the father is the Original Blueberry “Stretch-Indica”. The difference being that Vanilluna resembles Blue Heaven while Cocoa Kush displays some of the traits of the Chocolate Thai from the initial floral line.
As you probably realize by now, all the work done by DJ Short on the initial floral lines as well as the Blueberry and Flo strains span over several decades and represent a great deal of expertise when it comes to selective breeding. Keeping track of the lineage of all the different strains quickly becomes difficult, if not impossible, since the parentage and genetic make up of certain strains have changed over the years. It is, however, certain that all the strains are of high quality and closely related to each other in one way or another. Some plants are siblings while others are distant cousins. Perhaps it is best to consider all of them as different representatives of the initial parental lines. Some lean towards the Purple Thai while other bear resemblance to the Juicy Fruit Thai, yet others express the indica heritage, sometimes in pure form or in combination with the sativas. Since different phenotypes can be discovered within each strain, it would take a lifetime to grow out all the possible plants that are waiting in the magical beans provided by DJ Short and the people that he has worked with. Close to 40 years of breeding experience speaks for itself.