The history of Haze -Warning long read!
Haze's roots and Sam the Skunkman
Haze has a somewhat clouded history, to say the least. The accepted story is that it has it's roots in the work of the Haze Bros in Corralitos, near Santa Cruz in central California between 1970 and 1975. The Haze Bros grew out many of the finest sativas from imported seeds from Colombia, Mexico, Thailand and South India and hybridised them. Robert Connell Clarke explains the origins of Haze in his 'Origins of the Species' article published in Issue 60 of Cannabis Culture magazine:
“The Original Haze is a late-maturing variety from Central California and was almost always grown in greenhouses, allowing it to finish in December or January. Original Haze was always connoisseur stash, and even in the 1970s it sold for as much as $200 an ounce. Original Haze is a pure sativa stabilised hybrid arising from crossing all of the best females with a male of a different imported sativa variety each year. Starting with Colombian/Mexican hybrids grown from seeds from the first crop, a South Indian male plant was used as a pollen source the second year, and a Thai male plant was used the third year. Depending on which year Haze seeds were collected, they resembled either Colombian, South Indian or Thai plants. Original Haze varies in taste from citrus Thai notes through the gamut of sativa highlights to the deep spicy purple Colombian flavour most common in Dutch Haze cultivars.”
The exact cultivars grown by the Haze Bros are unknown, but the Colombians are said to include Highland Gold and Wacky Weed, the South Indian originated in the Kerala region. The selection of the Colombian and Mexican plants being based on which of them would mature under glass at Santa Cruz's latitude (36.9N). The Haze Bros were sensimilla growers and sold the various phenotypes of Haze under names such as Purple Haze, Silver Blue Haze and Lime Green Haze, the purple batches fetching upto $500 an ounce according to Sam the Skunkman.
The Bros were growers not breeders and never worked their hybrids into a consistent seedline, this happened later when one of their Santa Cruz neighbours and cannabis collaborators, Sam the Skunkman worked with their seed to produce the Haze seedline we know today. Sam explained a little about the process in a post at icmag.com in 2008:
“Original Haze was fairly consistant as F1's but by the time it was f5 and above it segregated out into many different related lines. I have not worked Original Haze as much as tried to save it, I collected as much seed as I could in the early 70's grew them and did free pollinations and did minimal selection to ensure I saved as many genes as I could. That was in the 70's & 80's now I have clones for the last 20 years. My Original Haze is not done being worked on that is why I tell people to use it as breeding materials.”
Haze genetics were brought to a worldwide audience in 1984 when Sam the Skunkman moved to Holland, taking the Haze genes with him and thus introducing them to the commercial cannabis seed business. In his handwritten Cultivator's Choice seed catalogue #4 from fall 1985, Sam lists Haze as #10 in his line-up of ten strains:
“Original Haze Sativa Pure, (Selfed)
All sativa but is an inconsistent hybrid. 10% are spectacular, 75% good, 10% poor. Truly superior sweet taste. High incredibly clear and up energy. Height 2-3m. Yield: 100-300gm. Harvest: December (flowers 3 months for quality). Will not mature outdoors in Holland or Northern California. Haze is Cultivator's Choice's personal favourite.”
At this point Sam didn't offer any Haze hybrids, however Haze doesn't work very well indoors under lights so it was inevitable that hybrids would be made to allow indoor growers to experience a part of the Haze genetics.
Neville of Greenhouse seeds and the hybridization of Haze
At the same time as Sam was bringing a handful of the best American genetics to Holland, a young Dutch/Australian man called Neville Schoenmakers was raking in huge piles of cash dollars through his company The Seed Bank. Neville had placed an ad in High Times in 1984 and immediately the envelopes stuffed with dollar bills began arriving by the sackload. According to Steven Hager's 'Inside Cannabis Castle' article published in High Times in March 1987:
“In the last year his company supplied $500,000 worth of seeds to 15,000 American growers. If you smoked high-quality marijuana sometime in the last three years, chances are the buds were grown with Neville's stock.”
Neville collected as many seeds as he could from a myriad of sources and grew them out in search of breeding plants. He purchased an old Victorian house located near the German border which he named 'The Cannabis Castle' and converted the lower two floors into sophisticated growing facilities, the gardens being filled with greenhouses. Neville obtained Haze seeds and from these he grew three plants which he called A, B and C; A and C were males, B was a female.
The Haze controversy begins at this point and revolves around the origin of the Haze seeds that Neville grew his three Haze plants from, Sam the Skunkman insists that Neville obtained his Haze seeds from him after he arrived in Holland; on the other hand, Neville told the story of obtaining the seeds from a guy in New York who had an old seed collection and the seeds were from Haze Bros stock circa 1969.
Sam posted on icmag on 25th February 2008:
“It is absurd that Neville said he got 1969 O Haze seeds from the Haze Bros.
#1 Neville first traveled to USA in 86 or 87 at the earliest, the main Haze Brother, R was gone, retired in Mexico by 82 he did not come back for 10 years. He was the one that created O Haze. The second Haze Brother J quit growing O Haze about 1980 and only grew Skunk #1 after that, until he became a reborn christian, then he quit growing, and anyway recently he told me he never met Neville and he certainly did not sell any Haze seeds to him or anyone else ever.
#2 The Haze Bros had a falling out in the late 70's and stopped talking to one another, for certain they did not sell seeds as the Haze Bros to anyone, it is ridiculous as well as impossible.
Lets be honest Neville got the seeds from me, but he had promised me that he would not make pure Haze and sell them as such, I told him it was fine to make Haze hybrids with other varieties that were not mine.
He broke his word and started selling Haze pure and hybrids with my varieties, and I stopped working with him.
Maybe he lied to avoid the problems that accompany breaking your word? I can not say, but I know Neville did not meet the Haze Bros and did not get any O Haze seeds from them. Both the Haze Bros were close friends of mine and both were close neighbors for years, J lived a few hundred meters from my house until he departed to Mexico.”
So Sam says he was the source of Neville's Haze seeds, Neville says not; only Sam and Neville know the truth, so let's leave the controversy there and focus on the Haze genetics themselves!
Sam himself created a number of Haze hybrids with Haze x Skunk #1 and Haze x Keralan South Indian Sativa being the two that are most widely known and are sold by The Flying Dutchmen as Fuma Con Diablos and Haze Mist.
Neville had three Haze plants which he called A, B and C. A and C were males, B was a female. The Haze B female was not an impressive looking plant and didn't have a pleasant high when smoked, so it was discarded. The Haze A male had a spicy smell/taste whereas the Haze C male had a more dark earthy Chocolate Thai type smell and taste. It is thought that the A male is a Colombian dominant pheno, the C being a Thai dominant one.
In the 1988 The Seed Bank catalogue Neville writes:
"Haze is a late sativa from America, widely agreed by experts to be the best pot in the world. Very popular in the 70's, it nearly became extinct in recent years as growers switched to easier varieties. We managed to salvage a few viable seeds from the last crop grown in America and we have used them to produce some remarkable hybrids. Haze is known for an extreme, almost psychedelic spaciness. The fragrance is complex and deep with a dry flowery perfume over a base of dark leathery animal tones. When used in a hybrid it adds fascinating notes of depth and complexity to the taste, as well as a unique addition to the high. While not for everyone, the most jaded connoisseur will often find haze irresistible.”
The first Haze hybrid to appear was Haze x NL #1 f-1 hybrid, listed in the 1988 The Seed Bank Catalogue, it is unknown what parent plants made up this strain which was only sold for one year. NL #1 is/was a true-breeding Afghani so both males and females were available for breeding, perhaps Neville crossed a NL#1 male to his only Haze female (B).
Neville made a number of crosses using his two Haze males; He crossed the the Haze A male to his Northern Lights #5 and Hashplant female clones and a Skunk #1 female (#17 from seed). He also crossed the Haze C male to his G13 female clone, a Hawaiian Sativa female and a Durban Sativa female. The Hawaiian and Durban hybrids both won Cannabis Cups in the pure sativa category which gives a very strong endorsement of the breeding pedigree of the Haze C male. The G13 x Haze C male hybrid appeared in The Seed Bank catalogue in 1989 but the genetics apparently didn't combine well and the seeds were only sold for one year. The Hashplant and Skunk hybrids were never offered for sale, but the NL5 x Haze A male cross turned out to be something special, and Neville's original description in the 1989 The Seed Bank catalogue has always made me chuckle:
"HAZE X NL#5
1989 - Due to tremendous customer demand, we have spent years searching for a superb Sativa/Indica hybrid that is suited for indoor growing but still retains the unique sativa qualities in the high. The Haze X NL#5 hybrid is the result of this search. A note of warning: Adverse effects have been known to occur among inexperienced smokers, particularly when combined with alcohol. Side effects may include nausea, dizzyness, fainting and loss of bowel and bladder control. Extreme introspective behavior is considered normal."
the 1995 Sensi Seed Bank Catalogue states:
“This hybrid is the pinnacle of achievement in Cannabis breeding today. The result: an extremely potent plant with a great Sativa high. At the Harvest festivals in the early nineties this strain was already miles ahead of its competitors. Even today it has not yet been surpassed. The high yields compensate for the slightly longer flowering period. Hybrid vigour provides for lush growth, heavy bud formation and abundant resin. A true champion!”
The NL5 x Haze A seedline was to become the source of breeding plants that form the foundations of the later Haze hybrids created by Neville and Shantibaba – Super Silver Haze, Neville's Haze and Mango Haze. As it plays such an important role as a building block in the Haze story, let us familiarise ourselves with Northern Lights #5 (NL5). Steven Hager's description from his 'Inside Cannabis Castle' article published in High Times in March 1987 gives you a good idea why Neville chose it as a breeding plant:
State of the art indoor indica. Originating out of the Pacific Northwest, it is the result of many years of indoor breeding – three to four crops per year for a total of perhaps thirty to forty generations in the last ten years. The picture in Neville's catalogue is a cutting of my personal favourite, C1 #5 f1. Unfortunately, no seeds are available of the strain, only cuttings. If anyone can come up with anything more resinous than this, I'd like to see it. Does not have much taste. The breeder bred a very specific goal in mind: high resin content. He certainly succeeded. The grass is a mellow indica that gets you pleasantly stoned – almost the opposite of Afghani #1. Although there are tastier varieties, I could smoke this one all day.
Shantibaba described the NL5 cutting in an internet post at mrnice.nl in 2008:
“The origins of the NL we have been using to breed with are Afghan, worked on in America in the 80s and Holland...one of the plants that has lead to a multitude of hybrids. There is no Thai in our version it is pretty much a 100% indica plant finishes 45-55 days and is exceptionally resinous.”
An exceptionally resinous clone that represented the state of the art in indoor indica genetics is the obvious choice to hybridise a pure sativa like Haze. The great success subsequently enjoyed by the Haze x NL5 hybrids and their derivatives shows that Neville made a wise choice when he crossed Haze to the Northern Lights #5 cutting.
The Cannabis Cup
While in Holland to meet Neville and write the 'Inside Cannabis Castle' article, High Times editor Steven Hager also met up with Sam the Skunkman and came up with the idea for the Cannabis Cup after hearing Sam's tales of the harvest festivals held in California in the 1970s. Held in November 1988, the first High Times Cannabis Cup was an informal affair with only four companies – Neville's The Seed Bank, Ben Dronker's Sensi Seed Club, Super Sativa Seed Club (SSSC) and Cultivator's Choice (Sam the Skunkman). Sam won with Skunk #1 but decided he was disenchanted with the idea of competitions and retired from them. Sam sold his genetics to Neville, Ben Dronkers and Eddy Rekedder (who later founded The Flying Dutchmen Seed Company and The Cannabis College) so ensuring the genes he brought with him from the US became some of the building blocks of modern hybrids.
The same four companies contested the second Cannabis Cup the following year and Neville's The Seed Bank won a clean sweep of all the awards using the genetics purchased from Sam. Haze x South African Sativa winning the Pure Sativa Cup and Early Pearl x Skunk No.1 x Northern Lights No.5 x Haze taking the Mostly Sativa Cup. The following year saw Neville repeat the clean sweep, Haze x Hawaiian wining the pure Sativa Cup and Northern Lights #5 x Haze the Mostly Sativa Cup. Northern Lights #5 won the Pure Indica Cup.
Operation Green Merchant
The High Times article, especially the picture of Neville counting large sums of US dollars brought not only valuable publicity but also unwanted attention in the form of a DEA crackdown on the hydroponics industry, head shops and cannabis growers. Operation Green Merchant began on the 26th October 1989, the DEA in conjunction with dozens of other law enforcement agencies raided hydroponics stores in 46 states, arresting 119 people, seizing several indoor gardening shops and thousands of cannabis plants. Ray Boyd described the carnage in an article published in issue 56 of Cannabis Culture magazine:
“Store owners and employees watched in horror as gun-toting police ransacked their shops. In most cases, no charges were ever filed, but civil asset forfeitures stole millions of dollars worth of inventory from stores and individuals. One cultivation-centered pot magazine, Sensimilla Tips, went out of business, and High Times spent years recovering from the loss of its most lucrative advertisers.
In 1991, DEA agents began serving subpoenas on hydro storeowners, seeking customer addresses and other private information. Agents raided, questioned, and intimidated hundreds of people and organizations, including scientists and NASA's horticultural research facilities. By the end of 1991, Green Merchant had arrested 1,262 people, dismantled 977 indoor grows, and seized $17.5 million in assets. Dozens of people served 4 to 15 year prison terms, many with mandatory minimums that did not allow for sentence reduction.”
On June 24, 1990, Neville was arrested by the Australian authorities at the behest of the US government while visiting family in Perth. A 44-count indictment was lodged in New Orleans, charging him with the sale of marijuana seeds to undercover agents and indoor growers in the New Orleans area in 1989. Neville was detained in Australia, not charged with anything but awaiting the results of an extradition hearing. Peter Gorman explained what happened in issue 59 of Cannabis Culture magazine:
“Shoenmakers was caught on a visit to his home in Australia, but fortunately a judge with power over his being granted bond—which the DEA fought fiercely—had a wife with a heart. The wife apparently liked to smoke a little pot before sex, and suggested to her husband that if he had Shoenmakers kept in jail to be extradited to the US, his sex life would run dry. The judge saw the light, granted bail and gave Shoenmakers his passport and a 24-hour head start before notifying US authorities, who were livid when they discovered that Shoenmakers had disappeared.”
So with the help of a randy judge's wife, Neville skipped bail and fled back to Holland where he could live without fear of extradition to the US as his seed company had been fully licensed by the Dutch government, he had not broken any Dutch laws and held a Dutch passport.
The end of The Seed Bank, Sensi Seeds is born
During this period Neville sold the Cannabis Castle and his breeding plants to Ben Dronkers who owned the competing Sensi Seed Club, the new company was called Sensi Seed Bank. Neville continued to work for Sensi Seed Bank as a breeder and Northern Lights #5 x Haze won awards for Sensi in the 1990, 1993 and 1996 Cannabis Cups.
Sensi Seeds also released a Haze hybrid called Silver Haze which is a cross of Silver Pearl to Haze. Sensi's description for Silver Haze:
Although the cerebral high of the Sativa is preferred by many, indoor growers aren't too fond of this type; Sativas get very tall, take a long time to finish off and produce skimpy yields. We have spent years searching for a superb Indica/Sativa hybrid suited for indoor growing. By crossing the Haze, the most powerful Sativa in the world, to a non-dominant Indica we managed to get the height and flowering time of the plant down to an acceptable level and still retain the unique Sativa qualities of the high.
Silver Pearl was created by pollinating the Northern Lights #5 female cutting with an Early Pearl x Skunk #1 male. Early Pearl is a cross of Early Girl x Pollyana, two Califonian cultivars brought to Holland by Sam in 1984. Early Girl was an f2 indica x sativa outdoor hybrid created in Northern California and Pollyana was a Mexican-derived strain. Neville created Early Pearl in 1987 using plants grown from the seeds purchased from Sam. Neville later inbred the line for 3 generations, resulting in Early Pearl Improved which appeared in the 1988 The Seed Bank Catalogue. Silver Pearl was also created by Neville, the male being a plant from his Early Pearl x Skunk #1 seed line which was also listed in the 1988 The Seed Bank catalogue and was described as having buds larger than either parent due to hybrid vigour; the female was the NL5 female cut. Silver Pearl won a Cannabis Cup in the Seed Company category in 1993.
After Neville moved on from Sensi Seeds, more Haze-based cultivars would appear. Jack Herer was released at the 1994 Cannabis Cup; here is Sensi's original Jack Herer description:
Jack Herer® is a multiple hybrid, the result of many years of selective breeding, combining 3 of the strongest marijuana varieties known to man. Even though we are regularly put under pressure by obsessed growers to give pedigree details, I'm afraid that just as with the Coca Cola recipe this Sensi variety will have to remain a secret. This variety produces so much resin that even the branches bristle with stalked glands. This strain was presented at the High Times Cannabis Cup in honour of Jack Herer, one of America's greatest Cannabis activists and author of The Emperor Wears No Clothes. High Times Magazine: "The bud was heavy with crystals and resin; the high was immediate and cerebral. An excellent strain".
While Sensi say the exact lineage is a closely-guarded secret, it is accepted that Jack Herer is a 3-way hybrid of Skunk #1, Northern Lights #5 and Haze. The precise lineage is probably Haze x [Northern Lights #5 x (Northern Lights #5 x Skunk #1)] which suggests that Sensi began by selecting a male from their NL5 x SK1 seedline (AKA Shiva Skunk) and backcrossing him to the NL5 female cutting. As Sensi purchased Neville's breeding plants, they had both the Haze A and C males, so it is likely that they then chose a female NL5 x (NL5xSK1) plant and pollinated it with one of the Haze males to create Jack Herer., this would make Jack 50% Haze, 37.5% NL5 and 12.5% SK1. This gives Jack Herer a similar composition to Super Silver Haze and Mango Haze which are 50% Haze, 25% NL5 and 25% SK1.
Jack Herer is an unstable hybrid and therefore plants grown from seed tend to be quite varied. However, the quality of the phenotypes within the line is generally excellent and many people have selected long term keepers. Sensi Seeds have written new, several paragraph long, detailed descriptions of their strains for their 2008 catalogue, here is an extract from the Jack Herer entry that gives a good description of the phenotypical variation:
Plants from seed show favourable variation, due to Jack Herer’s complex background and delicate balance right at the cusp of Sativa and Indica. Enhanced features from both sides of the family are strongly evident and are expressed in different combinations, allowing growers to select mother plants tailored to their circumstances and tastes.
Three of Jack’s four main phenotypes are heavily Sativa-influenced while the fourth has a growth pattern leaning towards Indica - fast-flowering and relatively compact with a dense, expansive, rounded bud structure that’s suited to cash-cropping. Jack’s Sativa phenotypes can also produce a good per-metre or per-plant yield when cultivated skilfully, though it is rare for these crops to be sold commercially. Most growers who have watched their succulent, super-sized calyxes swell and mature will be hesitant to sell such buds, and the best Jack Herer is often passed around a select circle of friends - an example of one of those things that money just can’t buy.
They say that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and if that is the case, the number of Jack Herer-derived seed lines available from a number of seedbanks is strong testimony to the success of Sensi's original. Nirvana and Black Label have produced straight-up copies, Dutch breeder ****** has released a much worked f5 version he calls ******'s Jack.Somahas used Jack Herer genes in his Reclining Buddha, Somango, Kahuna and Amethyst Bud seed lines. Female Seeds, World of Seeds and Sweet Seeds have all released feminised hybrids containing Jack Herer genes.
Sensi Seeds themselves sell two Jack Herer-derived seedlines – Jack Flash and Mother's Finest. Jack Flash is probably a cross of a Super Skunk to a Haze dominant pheno of Jack Herer, or perhaps a Superskunk x Haze male was used to pollinate a Jack Herer female. Sensi's description of Jack Flash gives a good description of the strain but does not clearly state it's exact lineage:
Jack Herer’s sublime gene-pool has been refined, with desired traits reinforced largely through back-crossing. Over multiple generations, our favourite Herer mother was infused with a precise blend of Super Skunk and Haze, undergoing rigorous selection and testing at every stage.
Jack Flash is the triumphant outcome of that program — inbred with the bulk and vigour of her Afghani-Skunk ancestors without sacrificing any of Herer’s sumptuous Haze high. In isolating this particular balance of traits, the four common phenotypes of Jack Herer are reduced to two recurring forms in Jack Flash, representing the contrasting sides of her heritage. The Indica form is compact enough for SOG, with rapid and highly distinctive bud development. Calyxes swell to outrageous sizes, piling atop each other to form resin-saturated ropes which build into multi-point crowns on terminal buds.
Mother's Finest is not a Jack Herer hybrid, rather it is a worked derivative selected towards the Haze side of it's lineage, as explained in Sensi Seeds' description:
Another incredible hybrid with roots in the Jack Herer breeding program, this next-generation Sativa is one of Sensi’s more recent creations. Upon release, Mother's Finest was an instant hit, winning first place for Sativa at the 2002 Cannabis Cup just a few months later. Mother's Finest is more a Hazey offshoot of the Herer line than a direct Jack-descendant. However, just like Jack Flash, Mother's Finest is best understood as a purposeful fine-tuning of Jack Herer’s multi-faceted gene pool.
The Greenhouse Years - Super Silver Haze, Mango Haze and Neville's Haze
Despite their current claims to have been an established seed company since 1985, the history of Arjan Roskam's Greenhouse dates back to the 10th of August 1992 when he opened his first coffeeshop Greenhouse Tolstraat in Amsterdam's Old South. A second shop called Greenhouse Namaste opened on the Waterlooplein on the 21st of April 1995 and around the same time Arjan teamed up with Australian breeder Shantibaba (Scott Blakey). They launched Greenhouse Seeds in time for the 1995 Cannabis Cup, the strains were bred by Shantibaba and included famous names like White Widow, White Rhino, Great White Shark and El Nino. Greenhouse won multiple cups with these Shantibaba-bred strains, dominating the High Times Cannabis Cup in the same way Neville had in the early years of the event.
A third coffeeshop called Greenhouse Centrum opened on the 1st of June 1997 on Oudezijds Voorburgwal in the Red Light District and after retiring from full-time breeding Neville became a co-owner of this shop with Arjan.Neville and Shantibaba began working together on breeding projects and each chose a female from a large crop of over 1000 NL5 x Haze A plants, the female Neville chose became the female half of Super Silver Haze (SSH), whereas Shantibaba's choice became the mother of Mango Haze. Shantibaba explained the selections in two posts on the mrnice.nl forum in April 2007:
“SSH is just one of those seed F1s that you are guaranteed of finding something great in every packet. Of course it is a small sample but you should have no problems. Consider this, to find the SSH female parent it took Nev over 1000 seeds flowered out over several years. Then doing the progeny test, which ultimately is the only true test of breeding, took alot of us several attempts to be sure the selection was true . This strain has had alot of breeding work over alot of years and it is not for no reason that it is so close to so many people worldwide.”
“The reason I went on with MH and Nev went on with the SSH was personal taste differences. The majority of people we gave both to taste initially went for the SSH and therefore it was named and its history is written. But my choice was MH and for any of you who manage to find a great mum keep her well as I believe you will not find a better example of such a sweet smelling, cerebral effecting plant.”
SSH was created by crossing Neville's selected NL5 x Haze A to a Skunk x Haze A male. It was entered in the Hydro category of the 1997 Cannabis Cup and won 1st prize. SSH seeds were made available during the 1998 Cup and SSH again won the Hydro category as well as taking the overall 1st place and El Nino, another Haze hybrid by Shantibaba placing second overall. SSH took 1st again at the 1999 Cannabis Cup to complete a remarkable hat-trick of victories. Here is Shantibaba's description of SSH from mrnice.nl:
“A champion of champions since winning its hat-trick at the 1997, 1998, and 1999 High Times Cannabis Cups and comprising of the most commercial strains known to the uncivilized world: Skunk, NL and Haze. Such achievements confer an undoubtedly regal pedigree. It has an excellent breed for those who wish to possess the stash of stashes and leaves one gasping for reality. This complex hybrid is in the cutting edge in practical Haze hybrids, designed to astound the grower and consumer alike. Recommendation is unnecessary as most people can not see the Haze for their daze.”
Shantibaba and Neville decided to make a new more Haze dominant hybrid and crossed the Haze C male to a selected NL5 x Haze female, this was sold by GHS as Neville's Haze, it was a cup winner in 1998, the year it was released. Neville's Haze is the most Haze dominant hybrid that will perform indoors, under lights and having both the A and C males in it's lineage, it contains phenotypes that express both the Colombian and Thai sides of the Haze genetics. Here is the original description from the GHS catalogue:
Pedigree: Almost pure Haze with just a hint of Indica (Northern Lights).
Awards: Never entered in any competition.
Strength: The most potent variety of its kind on or off the market. Not recommended for inexperienced smokers - too trippy - too profound.
Flowering Times: Indoors: should be started under 12 hours of lights. The earliest will finish in 14 weeks (25%). Those that take much longer than this are usually discarded as not practical.
Outdoors: should be grown in the Tropics + started just before the on set of autumn. Yields are surprisingly good - the longer flowering time is usually compensated with extra large yields, both in and outdoors. Not for the novice smoker or grower.
Specifications: ~ Flower: 14 + weeks ~ Price: $175.00 (10 seeds) ~ Code: nh
Here is Shantibaba's description of Neville's Haze from mrnice.nl:
A tribute to the father of all modern seed companies, Neville Schoenmakers. There is something very special about this 3/4 sativa that those in the know will recognize once they smell the end product. It can be difficult to know what to base your selective reasoning on, but the plants that go longer than 16 weeks indoor will really not be of value in the end to indoor cultivators.A tip for those who do find a long flowering plant they wish to keep...clones usually finish 2-3 weeks quicker than the seed mother plant and therefore will give the grower a possibility to finish something that normally needs the tropics to grow in.The full flavor is sativa all the way so for you Indica lovers this plant will not be for you! It was made by combining a pure Haze to a NL5/Haze, thus creating probably one of the most influential plants of our time , certainly for flavor , aroma and effect. It is a must if you are within 10' of the equator for outdoor cultivation , but indoor would be recommended in other regions. All seed companies owe the ground work and origin of modern cultivars to Nevil . Like the man himself...the legend grows!
Shantibaba ended his involvement with Greenhouse Seeds after the 1998 Cannabis Cup and soon after, Neville also departed. Shantibaba explains what happened in the History of Mr Nice article published on the mrnice.nl website:
“I did not particularly like the event so decided to retire from it that year. Coincidentally my relationship with my Dutch partner deteriorated, and egos went crazy. As a result, I sold my interest in the Greenhouse Seed Company and, as a sole trader, set up Mr Nice Seedbank (MNS), which has always been and remains a Dutch company. Shortly afterwards, Neville also forego his interest in Greenhouse. MNS never entrusted plants to non-growers, including our ex-Dutch partners.”
Shantibaba took his breeding plants and seed collection and moved to Switzerland to continue his breeding work as he explains:
“In 1999, Dutch law changed and no longer permitted the production of seeds. Due to the Dutch gedogen law, however, selling seed imported from another country remained legal. We wanted to fulfil our project without breaking any country’s laws. Accordingly, MNS moved its growing operations to Switzerland, where the law permits growing cannabis for seed production. Many Dutch seed companies lost plants, mother rooms, and seed crops, but in Switzerland, MNS seed production blossomed.”
After Shantibaba and Neville parted ways with Greenhouse Seeds the details of the Haze genetics being offered by Arjan become difficult to discern, certainly the parent plants being used to make the Haze varieties offered had changed as Shanti and Neville took them when they left. However, this did not stop Greenhouse from continuing to sell the same Haze varieties they had before. I have no idea whether the varieties were reproduced by finding new parents from original seedstock or if the genetics were from another source, only Arjan and a select few at Greenhouse Seeds know the truth and to speculate is largely pointless. Arjan owns the copyright on the names White Widow, White Rhino, Great White Shark and others so is legally able to sell seeds with these names; however there are no laws governing the authenticity of the genetics so while the name remains the same, the genetics are subject to change. A good explanation was given by Shantibaba in a 2007 internet post:
“Seeds of Cannabis are not recognized as authentic except for various hemp strains the French managed to patent years ago. So every company who sells Cannabis seed has no patent nor ever can have a patent. The best they can do is try to copyright a name that includes their company name. That is the truth and therefore you see companies like GHSco now using everyone elses name of a strain even though they are using F1 seed to make these feminized versions...and it is not only them but many other companies that do that.”
“Since 1998 I must have answered several thousand complaints against Arjan's seed which he sells under GHSco. He will never admit it but he lost or killed most all plants that were left to himso he basically buys in seed from Ingemar(which is unpredictable at best) or tries to avoid true breeding by using hormones to feminize seed. The reason he feminizes seed is two fold, one it sells well to beginners or people wanting to only get females, and two because he has no idea of what male to breed with...nor does he have the males so as an alternative use the hormones to make seed from the female...a job anyone can do. The only problem now will come when people grow his types. And just a small tip for anyone who really wants to know, the loudest sound comes from an empty barrel...that is why he has god knows how many strains named after his own self...is it ego or insecurity...I will leave it to you to figure. “
Since the turn of the millenium, Greenhouse have released a host of new Haze varieties such as Arjan's Hazes 1, 2 and 3; Arjan's Ultra Hazes 1, 2 and 3 and Strawberry Haze. Concrete details about these strains and their genetic makeup are not readily available so it is unknown if they contain any of the Haze genetics introduced by Neville or if they are even Haze variations at all. Regardless of the authenticity or quality of his genetics, Arjan ensured that the Haze name remained a hot item in the world of cannabis seeds. Arjan's Ultra Haze #1 was created by crossing a Neville's Haze plant to a sativa from Laos and was entered in the 2006 Cannabis Cup, everyone who smoked it was unimpressed and very surprised when it won 1st prize.
When originally offered for sale, the lineage of Arjan's Haze #1 was listed as Nevilles Haze X Super Silver Haze X "secret haze" and Arjan’s Haze #2 as Neville’s Haze X Super Silver Haze X Laotian. It is unknown if these are the actual lineages or whether the seed was created by Greenhouse themselves or bought in from an outside source.
The lineage of Arjan's Strawberry Haze is listed as Swiss Sativa X [Northern Light #5 X Haze], this suggests that the strain was bought in seed form from a Swiss based grower as a Haze x Erdpurt hybrid was popular among outdoor growers during the brief Swiss cannabis growing boom in the early 2000s. Erdpurt is a traditional Swiss strawberry flavoured outdoor cultivar that is very hardy but low in potency and resin production. Arjan's Strawberry Haze was met with distinctly negative reactions on it's release in 2006, being derided by one veteran Haze smoker as having 'no taste, no THC, real hay'.
Meanwhile Shantibaba (as Mr Nice Seedbank) continued to offer Neville's Haze, Super Silver Haze, Mango Haze and El Nino (renamed La Nina as GHS owned the copyright on the name El Nino) using the same parent plants as he did in the years 1995 to 1998 while working at GHS.
Soma and G13Haze
In 2001 an unexpected new source of Haze genetics entered the scene, but yet again, rather than being completely new they were from the original Haze hybridisation work of Neville over a decade earlier. An expatriate American breeder called Soma resurrected some of Neville's genetics after being given ten old seeds by Ed Rosenthal. Soma tells the story on page 78 of his book Organic Marijuana Soma Style:
“In 2001 I tried sprouting some very old G-13 Haze seeds that came from Neville of cannabis genetics fame, They were created in 1988. I had ten of these 13-year-old seeds. Only one sprouted and it was a male. That left me with but one choice – in order to use the genetics, I had to breed the male to some of my existing strains and select some choice female phenotypes. As the G-13 Haze crosses circulate the globe, many growers are totally enthused by what they have come up with from these seeds. It has brought a heavy sativa influence to all the strains it has been hybridised with.”
Neville created the G13 x Haze cross in 1988 using the Haze C male and the female G13 clone. Neville describes the G13 cutting in the 1988 The Seed Bank catalogue:
“G13 is an outstanding indica cutting reputedly 'liberated' from the government research program in Mississippi, and now we have it. Widely grown as a commercial indoor plant in the US, G-13 has proven to be one of the best breeding plants in our collection. G13 hybrids have fast indoor flowering, high resin production,excellent potency, and extreme hybrid vigour.”
G13 x Haze seeds were offered for sale in the 1989 The Seed Bank catalogue but were only on sale for 1 year, apparently the genetics did not combine well. Neville never used the G13 x Haze genetics in any subsequent work and instead chose to work with the NL5 x Haze cross. The G13Haze male Soma found leans heavily to the Haze side of it's genetics, so I guess Soma's thinking was that he basically had a version of the Haze C male but with some G13 influence. Neville and Shantibaba proved that the Haze C male is a great breeding plant so Soma would have thought he had a similarly classic breeding male to work with. Soma wrote in his Hybridisation article:
“In my newest crossings between the G-13 Haze male (wanted to bring more of the sativa genetics into the mix) and Buddha’s Sister, Somango, Somativa, White Willow, Lavender, Citralah, White Light, New York City Diesel, Rockbud, Reclining Buddha, and Free Tibet, I am finding some of the finest plants ever.”
Other seed sellers have subsequently used Soma's G13Haze male cutting in their own hybrids. DNA Genetics have created several strains using this male such as Connie Chung, Sour Cream, Super Cannalope, Chocolope, C13 Haze and Martian Mean Green. Barney's Farm have also sold seeds created by a Dutch breeder using the G13haze male, in 2005 they won a Cannabis Cup for best sativa with a C5 x G13Haze male cross under the name Willy Nelson. The same breeder has also crossed the G13Haze male to Soma's Amnesia Haze and the A5 and C5 Haze cuts, these hybrids have been available in seed form from several shops in Amsterdam. Barney's Farm actually sell a seed line called G13Haze but it's exact lineage is unknown, it is listed by Barney's as G13 x Hawaiian sativa, but as the G13 clone has been dead for over a decade, it is more likely that is is a hybrid using pollen from the G13Haze male.
Self-confessed Haze lover ojd made this comment on the G13Haze male in an internet post on *********.com in December 2008:
“I have grown or smoked a lot(or most) of the varieties crossed to the G13Haze male by a lot of the companies – DNA, Soma and more and I must say if your looking to bring Haze flavours and qualities to the mix this is the clone you want, it really hazes up anything you cross it to and can even overtake the cross with mad haze.”
A of DNA Genetics had this so say about the G13Haze male in a post on *********.com in November 2008:
“we have been working with this male for 4-5 years now and we are always finding great things from him.“
Given that the G13Haze male is the only plant known to be in existence grown from original seed made by Neville in 1988, it is hardly representative of that hybrid. Also, being a Haze dominant phenotype with minimal G13 influence being apparent in his progeny, it can be considered that it has similar breeding properties to the original Haze C male that fathered it. The Haze C male has proven to be a great breeding plant, being used in many crosses by Neville and Shantibaba with great success; it therefore follows logically that the G13Haze male, being similar to his father should have similar breeding potential. The great success enjoyed by Soma and DNA Genetics in recent years with their hybrids using the G13Haze male therefore reinforces the reputation of it's Haze C male father and his influence on the commercial cannabis genepool.
Soma's Amnesia Haze
Soma also offers a seedline called Amnesia Haze which he claims he created from a Laotian sativa female and Shantibaba's Afghan/Hawaiian male, the strain description he wrote gives no clues to the lineage however:
“Amnesia Haze is one of the finest Hazes Soma Seeds has to offer. The smell and taste are unforgettable, until you smoke it and forget everything!”
Amnesia Haze was released in 2003 at the same time as the G13Haze crosses and was entered in the 2004 Cannabis Cup by where it won overall 1st place. Soma makes no mention of the breeding process that created Amnesia Haze in his book Organic Marijuana Soma Style. In the strain description for Super Silver Haze at mrnice.nl Shantibaba writes:
“A winner of multiple awards including 97,98 and 99 HTCC as well as it being called by other names in various different countries such as Amnesia haze, the Bomb etc…. “
Shantibaba clearly thinks that Amnesia Haze and SSH are related, perhaps Soma crossed a SSH mother to the G13Haze male to create Amnesia Haze? Some people speculate that Soma used one of the surviving Haze clones (A5 or C5) and pollinated her with the G13Haze male, this makes sense as Amnesia appeared at the same time as his G13Haze crosses.
The Dutch nutrient company Hy-Pro has also released a version of Amnesia Haze. Little information is available, but it may be Amnesia Haze x G13Haze male.
Surviving clones from Neville's original Haze hybrids
A number of clones still survive from the original work of Neville and are fairly widely held in Holland. The best known among these are A5 and C5. A5 is a mango tasting plant and is the mother of Mexican Haze and Ocean's Twelve Haze. C5 is a pheno selected from the thousand plus plant grow of NL5 x Haze A male that Neville did in the early nineties and from which he and Shantibaba selected the mothers of the SSH and Neville's Haze seedlines.
A5 Haze is a staple of coffeeshops in southern Holland such as the Toermalijn coffeeshop in Tilburg, Checkpoint in Terneuzen, Pax in Breda and at Willie Wortels in Haarlem.
Mexican Haze is A5 x Mexican sativa male, there are two phenotypes held as clones; the Mexican male no longer exists. The Dampkring coffeeship in Amsterdam has had Mexican Haze on it's menu. No Mercy Supply used Mexican Haze in a number of their hybrids, the greatest proportion being in the Mexican Haze x Victorie F1.
Another of Neville's Haze hybrids also resurfaced recently. Hashplant x Haze was first grown in Spain and is also known in some circles as HP13 or Hollywood Haze. Shantibaba distributed a large quantity of old Hashplant x Haze seeds in 2005 and this cutting was grown from those seeds by growers near Valencia. The clone travelled to Amsterdam and was popularized by THSeeds under the name HP13. THSeeds also offer a hybrid of this clone called PG-13 which is probably HP13 x G13Haze male. A of DNA Genetics explained the story in a post at *********.com in December 2008:
“We got a cutting in Spain 4 years ago of supposedly HP13 and when we grew this cutting out it took 12 weeks stretched like a sativa and smelled of haze. when it finally finished we knew it was Hash Plant Haze and after speaking with Shantibaba we got it right, but we also know for fact that he gave out the hp13 seeds also in Spain...
11-12 flowering and very nice yields. makes some of the best bubble hash around that i have seen.”
Haze once again dominates the Cannabis Cup
If we look at the top three strains from the last three Cannabis Cups we see the name Haze is very prominent. In 2006 Greenhouse took the top prize with Arjan's Ultra Haze #1, Barney's were 2nd with G13 Haze and Grey Area took 3rd with DNA's Martian Mean Green. Arjan's Ultra Haze #1 is a cross of Neville's Haze to a sativa from Laos and widely regarded as utter garbage, Martian Mean Green is Sharksbreath x G13Haze so the winner was 50% Neville's Haze, second place was 50% Haze C male and third place was 25% Haze C male.
At the 2007 Cannabis Cup Barney's claimed the overall 1st place with G13Haze and the Greenhouse took 3rd with Super Silver Haze, the Haze genes in each being from the Haze C male. DNA's Chocolope was 2nd and that is made up of OG Choc Thai x Cannalope Haze so probably contains a small amount of genes from either the Haze A or C males
The 2008 cup was again claimed by a Haze hybrid, this time Super Lemon Haze from the Greenhouse; Barney's placed second with Utopia Haze. The Utopia Haze is simply the old C5 Haze cut renamed so has a genetic makeup of NL5 x Haze A male. Everyone I talked to thought the Super Lemon Haze was actually Super Silver Haze, Greenhouse claim it is SSH x Lemon Skunk, but I'm not convinced of this. Chocolope was again third so for the third year in a row, all of the top 3 strains were based to some degree on two Haze males first grown from seed by Neville twenty years earlier.
If we list the nine strains that filled the top three places in the last three cannabis cups along with their lineage, it gives us a breakdown of what genetics are at the heart of the most successful strains today.
From this table we can see that only a tiny number of plants were originally used to create these genetics, the Haze A and C males making up the largest part; the Northern Lights #5 and G13 clones making up most of the remainder and there is a small amount of Skunk #1 in Super Silver/Lemon Haze. The minor contributions in terms of new genetics are from the Laos sativa in Arjan's Ulta Haze #1, the small amount of Jamaican Lambsbread and Great White Shark in Martian Mean Green and the supposedly Thai part of Chocolope.
So why are the same genetics that won the first Cannabis Cups 20 years ago still winning? Why are the Netherlands-based seed companies entering genetics from on a handful of plants Neville introduced twenty years ago? Well, there are two prime reasons:
1. Finding quality breeding plants is hard work, you need to grow a lot of seeds out and this is going to cost a lot of money, not to mention a good deal of skill and knowledge when it comes to selection time. Large profits can be made selling seeds that are comprised purely of old genetics as the majority of customers are largely ignorant of the true nature of the product they are buying.
2. The Dutch ban on seed production in 1998 drove cannabis seed production underground, no-one is able to grow the large crops of thousands of plants needed to find quality breeding plants. Instead, the breeders are still using the same production clones and selected breeding males they had before the ban.
An internet post made by Shantibaba on the Mr Nice forum in September 2007 gives a good insight into the difficulties of finding new breeding plants from seed:
“If I select to work with a land race from a particular country, like Laos for example...there maybe nothing worth keeping initially, which is actually what happened to me. So as time permits and space, you put out another batch hoping things will change, and they sometimes do. In the 90s I did work and spend a lot of time on a Laotian seed...but I never found anything special or worthwhile so I kept the work up till then, in seed form and eliminated the plants from my grow room and library.
The general rule in breeding is to test the progeny and see how it comes up...most people are happy to have made a batch of seed, but the hardest work is in the selection process...”
Sam the Skunkman gave an insight into the volume of work required to create the later inbred generations of his Skunk #1 line is a series of posts at icmag in 2008:
“I grew 20,000+ Skunk #1 at one location in the ground. They were all from seed. I sexed them, or helped my crew. I rejected many males for many reasons, I cloned the remaining few hundred and tested progeny (with my best female Skunk #1 clones) to determine the best male for specific end progeny results, like most consistant, most potent, most diverse (for selections), I focused on Branching, Smells, Potency, Type of High, Yield, Flower to leaf Ratio, as well as a few other things... “
Actually obtaining new landrace genetics is not easy either, Shantibaba posted the story of how he tracked down the South Indian strain he used to create White Widow:
“The south indian hybrid originated from Kovalum Beach, but actually was grown in the mountains of Kerala. It was one of the most knock out effects of all time for me, so I went on safari and into the mountains to find it. After a few days of biking up to the area on my old Enfield I was lucky enough to be sitting in a cafe drinking a chai and smoking a joint. A middle aged looking glassy eyed fellow came over to me and shared my joint. We got pretty wasted and drank tea then he took me back to his village and onto his farm. It turned out this fella was the grower of this strain , and he recognized the smell...sometimes you get lucky! Anyhow I stayed there for several days and went through a lot of testing with him. He did not really know a lot but selected for the resin production. Considering it is high up and tropical it grew like a sativa but finished a lot earlier. He told me the seed had always been in his village but was slightly different depending upon the village you went to to get your things. It was not a big yielder but it was uniquely scented and incredibly pretty frosting as the plant completed it cycle. “
So here we are in 2008, and the cannabis strains available from the top companies are pretty much the same ones that were available 20 years ago, the gene pool has become extremely bottlenecked and based on a mere handful of plants. This is an extremely bad situation for a number of reasons, genetic diversity is being lost and this will lead to a generic quality with most seed lines being broadly similar in their genetic make-up. Sadly, it is the name given to a seed line rather than the genetics it contains that most customers base their purchasing decisions on, and most seed companies have exploited this. Shantibaba explained the situation in an internet post in 2007 (emphasis is mine):
“In the end it is a popular name that sells the dream to potential growers and not the true genetics, let's face it! Look at White Widow for example, which I introduced as seed in 1995...since then every man and his dog have something they call WW...I changed the popular name when I sold the old company and retained the original genetics ...a little bit of a reversal for a commercialist but considering it is no longer my main aim, it was not really too difficult to rename it Black Widow. I see that everyone still uses my description of the parent plants when it is obvious they never have had either of them...most just create an F2 or feminise an F1 selected female. So as you may well appreciate there is or hardly is any etiquette in this world of Cannabis Seed nor probably ever will be. I mean why would someone who begins tomorrow making seed try to sell some name that noone knows when all they have to do is have a cheap price with a common name that works?”
Sam the Skunkman made some very salient points on this issue in a February 2008 post on icmag.com and I think it is appropriate to let the man who introduced Haze genes to the cannabis seed industry have the final word on the subject (emphasis is again mine):
“If I had a dollar for every Skunk #1, or hybrid that has been copied and sold I could buy the USA elections and have plenty of change to do something good for the world.
I did not receive anything from any breeders for them copying my work or using it to make their own hybrids. They even steal my varieties names. That's the way it is.
Maybe it is my own fault for making true breeding varieties instead of hybrids? I though it was the right thing to do...
I am glad they are filling the world with seeds, I wish some "breeders" would spend more time and resources collecting genetics from traditional Cannabis areas to add to the Drug Cannabis Gene Pool, and using these to make IBL's or hybrids that were not just a reshuffle of varieties & genes around for 25 years. I wish the price of seeds was not so high.”
Sam has stated many times over the years that Haze made great hybrids, that it improved everything it touched. Perhaps he said this to Neville when they first met in 1985, thus inspiring him to make a series of Haze hybrids. Between them, Sam and Neville started the ball rolling and since then many others have carried on breeding with Haze genetics, and if Sam did have a dollar for every Haze hybrid seed sold, he would be a very rich man indeed. The most important reason behind the continuing success of Haze genetics is that they were created in one of the very few occasions when pure sativas were being grown outdoors in greenhouses in great quantity and that in the intervening four decades, no-one apart from Sam, and Neville have been able to work on a large scale outdoors. Perhaps there will be no further occasions when such large crops of cannabis are grown for the purpose of breeding until the advent of legalization, until then, no-one is in a position to repeat the processes by which Haze genetics came about.