Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. asperrima (Regel) McPartl. & E.Small

McPartland, John M. & Small, Ernest, 2020, A classification of endangered high-THC cannabis (Cannabis sativa subsp. indica) domesticates and their wild relatives, PhytoKeys 144, pp. 81-112: 81

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Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. asperrima (Regel) McPartl. & E.Small


Cannabis sativa subsp. indica var. asperrima (Regel) McPartl. & E.Small   Figure 6 View Figure 6

Cannabis sativa   γ asperrima   Regel, Acta Horti Petropolitani 6 (1): 476, 1879 (Basionym).

C. sativa var. asperrima   Regel in Herder, Acta Horti Petropolitani 12(1): 34, 1892.

= C. indica var. kafiristanica   Vavilov in Vavilov & Bukinich, Trudy Po Prikladnoi Botanike, Genetike i Selektsii 33 (Suppl.): 381, 1929.

C. sativa subsp. indica var. kafiristanica   (Vavilov) Small & Cronquist, Taxon 24: 429, 1976.

C. kafiristanica   (Vavilov) Chrtek, Časopis Národního Muzea v Praze, Rada Přírodovědna 150(1-2): 22, 1981.


Designated herein: Kyrgyzstan, Issyk-Kul Region, near Karakol, leg.: A. Regel; det.: E. Regel, 1.X.1877 (LE). Fig. 6a View Figure 6 .


Designated herein, explicitly supporting the neotype: Afghanistan, Kunar Province, Chekhosarai (now Asadābād), Vavilov, 1924, from seeds sown by Serebriakova in 1927 at Pushkin Experiment Station, Detskoye Selo, St. Petersburg (WIR 599, 3952). Fig. 6b View Figure 6 .


Plants with THC% ≥0.3% in inflorescences and a THC/CBD ratio <7 (almost always >1); central leaflet length:width ratio <6 in fan leaves near the base of inflorescences; mature achenes usually <3.6 mm long, with a persistent perianth and a protuberant base, and readily disarticulating from plant by a well-developed abscission zone.


Plants usually < 1.5 m tall. Central stem (stalk) internodes short (often 5-11 cm, shorter in shorter plants), mostly solid, central hollow, if present, usually less than 20% of stalk diameter. Branches in well-developed plants begin close to ground level, at an angle sometimes nearly 90° from the stalk axis, producing a menorah-shaped habitus. Leaf palmately compound, dark green, larger leaves with 5-7 leaflets, sometimes overlapping. Central leaflet relatively short and broad, often oblanceolate in shape; margins with coarse serrations, secondary serrations rarely seen. Female inflorescence small but somewhat compact, with moderately prominent sugar leaves (a moderate perigonal bract-to-leaf index). Sugar leaves with moderately dense CSGTs on the proximal half. Perigonal bract densely covered with CSGTs. Perianth membranous, with dark brown pigmentation in a mottled or sometimes linear pattern; persistent but easily flaked off with manual manipulation. Achene small, oval to elongate, exocarp dark olive colored, with an elongated base.


Dried female inflorescences: THC ≥0.3, literature weighted x¯ = 1.49%, range between 0.4% and 4.47%. THC/CBD ratio literature weighted x¯ = 2.23%, range 0.77 to 4.75 (one outlier 9.43). Terpenoid profile likely approximates that of the Central Asian domesticate, but has not been reported in the literature.

Provenance and uses.

Herbarium specimens resembling afghanica   , but with a wild-type phenotype, have provenance from northwestern Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Xīnjiāng Region in China. The mountains in this region are a biodiversity “hotspot,” harboring significant numbers of wild crop relatives, and over 1000 species of endemic plant species ( Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund 2017).


Herder (1892) retained C. sativa   γ asperrima   as a distinct variety, whereas he synonymized C. erratica   and C. sativa   β davurica under C. sativa   . This taxon’s publication date has priority over Vavilov’s kafiristanica   , but Vavilov’s specimen is much better preserved, and serves as an epitype.