Environment and genetics both play a role in the coloration of a plant. But what exactly causes each variety to look the way it does? What gives Black Cherry Sodaits otherworldly color of dark purple with vibrant orange hairs cutting through it like streaks of fire?
Let’s explore the color of cannabis, examining which factors influence its coloration, why some strains are more vibrant than others, and whether purple = potent.
How do genetics influence the color of cannabis?
In order for plants to express vibrant non-green hues, they need the genetic building blocks to do so. These building blocks are called anthocyanins, which are a family of flavonoids that provide purple, red, or blue pigments—these are also found in blueberries, eggplants, red cabbage, concord grapes, violets, and other richly colored plants. Some cannabis strains naturally contain higher levels of anthocyanins than others.
Ever notice some of your favorite strains tend to express the same colors over and over again? Granddaddy Purple, for example, seems to always carry swirls of deep purples and pastel lavenders. This alternative coloration is indicative of the strain’s predisposition to high anthocyanin levels, and it’s certainly a quality some cannabis breeders attempt to select for and coerce, if only to make us consumers ooh-and-ahh over pretty colors (hence the long line of “purple” strains that includes Purple Kush, Mendocino Purps, Purple Urkle, and many others).