PHENOTYPES

phe·no·type /ˈfēnəˌtīp/ noun 

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Phenotype is the term used in genetics for the composite observable characteristics or traits of an organism. With the cannabis plant specifically, every time a female plant is pollinated, it develops seedlings, each with the same genetic lineage, but their own unique characteristics. This means that when each seed sprouts, the plants may develop differently in their vigor, foliage, bud structure, and ultimately, the aroma, taste and effect of the final product. While they often share many similarities, the results from one pheno to the next can, at times, be vastly different.

SELECTING A KEEPER CUT

The process of pheno hunting is a pivotal point where the craft cannabis community separates from the growing industry of mass-produced cannabis. And in this field, starting with great genetics is only the first step.  

During the pheno hunt process, our team searches through roughly 30-50 different seedlings at a time, looking for specific traits and characteristics. Only the best of the best will make it into the flowering room where their progress will continue to be documented and judged. During this process, our team considers the following qualities: 

Vigor & Growth Characteristics

How quickly does the plant grow and develop?Most strains will take between 8-10 weeks to finish. The faster a pheno can finish, the more viable it is for commercial growing. How stable are the genetics?How well does the pheno and/or strain respond to nutrients, lighting, and atmosphere? Is it prone to herming under stress? Click here to read more about the stability of cannabis genetics.

Bud Structure & Resin Development

What’s the leaf to calyx ratio?Phenos and strains that are less leafy are not only easier to trim, they also tend to produce buds that are more visually appealing, especially once dried as a final product. Click here to read more about trimming techniques for craft cannabis. Resin DevelopmentHow fast do the trichomes develop during flowering and how well do they fill the surface area of the buds?While we do not select keeper phenos specifically for hash production, resin development can also be a helpful indicator for how well a pheno will wash into ice hash. Click here to read more about how the quality of the resin can impact hash production. Shape & SizeHow large do the buds grow? Will they turn into massive colas; mostly small popcorn buds; or just the right size?Are the buds prone to foxtailing or will they finish with a nice symmetrical structure?Do the buds properly represent the genetic lineage?

Bud Structure & Resin Development

What’s the leaf to calyx ratio?Phenos and strains that are less leafy are not only easier to trim, they also tend to produce buds that are more visually appealing, especially once dried as a final product. Click here to read more about trimming techniques for craft cannabis. Resin DevelopmentHow fast do the trichomes develop during flowering and how well do they fill the surface area of the buds?While we do not select keeper phenos specifically for hash production, resin development can also be a helpful indicator for how well a pheno will wash into ice hash. Click here to read more about how the quality of the resin can impact hash production. Shape & SizeHow large do the buds grow? Will they turn into massive colas; mostly small popcorn buds; or just the right size?Are the buds prone to foxtailing or will they finish with a nice symmetrical structure?Do the buds properly represent the genetic lineage?

Terpene Profile:

Flavor & Aroma

Does the profile satisfy and intrigue the palate?How exotic is the flavor profile? Does it stand out as something special and memorable? Click here to learn more about reviewing and analyzing terpene profiles. Does the profile properly represent the genetic lineage?Do the flavors and aromas accurately represent the parent genetics?

THE PROCESS

The process of pheno hunting is a pivotal point where the craft cannabis community separates from the growing industry of mass-produced cannabis. It’s labor intensive, detail oriented, and often requires the experience of a tenured grower to effectively narrow the selection down to one perfect keeper. Ultimately, our grow team can spend upwards of 10 months working to find one single keeper pheno. 

While every farm is different, a SKöRD pheno hunt can be broken down into 2-3 different batches over the course of a year.  

Pheno Hunt - Process

First Batch

First Batch

– 30-60 different phenos to choose from, all grown from seed. 

– Customers will likely see the first appearance as a Reserve, multi-pheno blend of PHö. 

– All flower testing in-house, at this point. 

Second Batch

Second Batch

– 1-4 different phenos to choose from, all cloned from their original seed. 

– Customers might see a strain washed into solventless hash, so we can test out how well each pheno yields.  

– Phenos are sent to market for customer feedback 

Third Batch

Third Batch

– Only necessary if keeper still hasn’t been selected. 

– Phenos have been narrowed down to 2 cuts. 

– Both sent to market for customer feedback.  

Core Lineup

Core Lineup

– It can take up to a year of pheno hunting and testing for a strain to make it to the Core Lineup. 

– This means we found a pheno that washes, blasts, and produces all around beautiful products. 

– Once a strain reaches the Core Lineup, it will likely remain in our garden for up to a year and a half — or until we find a better alternative.

The never-ending pursuit

of flavor & experience

So, at the end of the day, why does our team go through months of R&D and tedious testing? Often times these phenos don’t result in a keeper cut that meets our standards to graduate to our core lineup, so is all of this work worth it in the end?  

The answer is obvious: of course, it is! If you’ve made it this far, then you can likely tell that this is more than just a passion project, it’s a lifestyle for everyone involved: the growers, trimmers, and of course, consumers. It isn’t about finding the best hype strain that will sell for the highest dollar, it’s about experiencing and appreciating the incredible diversity this plant has to offer.  

Pheno hunting is about sharing an experience and gaining a better understanding of the myriad factors that connect and differentiate every strain. Through this processa connoisseur truly develops a palate, understanding, and appreciation of the vast world of cannabis genetics 

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