What Makes the Purple Urkle Strain Purple?

Purple Urkle is a classic Northern California cannabis strain, but is it really purple? Actually, you can find lots of Purple Urkle phenotypes that don’t host the rich plum and berry purples the name implies. While Purple Urkle is known for its potent indica effects like full-body relaxation and couch-lock, it’s delicious grape flavor and body-down high have nothing to do with its color.

Hues of purple and blue appear in many foods, blueberries, blackberries and plums to name a few. They also appear in cannabis. Famous purple strains include Grape Ape, Purple Trainwreck and Granddaddy Purple (GDP).

Fun Fact: No one knows the exact origin of Purple Urkle but it’s thought to be a descendant hybrid of Mendocino Purps.

There are three classes of compounds in cannabis: terpenoids, flavonoids and cannabinoids.

Compounds called anthocyanins are responsible for these beautifully rich plums and purples. They’re part of a classification called flavonoids.

While claims of superior effects and/or taste may be true in some instances, it doesn’t have anything to do with the color. Anthocyanins are bitter if they have any flavor at all and there aren’t any well-documented benefits, health or otherwise, to be had from consuming them. Still, they are lovely to behold.

All those Purple Urkle fruity flavors and fabulous effects? Those come from terpenoids and cannabinoids respectively.

Did you know? Anthocyanin is derived from the Greek words anthos or “flower” and kyanos meaning “blue.”

Before advanced genetics took over the cannabis industry, purple cannabis was generally produced outdoors under less than desirable conditions. Anthocyanins serve several purposes in plants. They act as a “sunscreen” to protect leaves from intense light and cold weather. The bright colors are also thought to attract pollinators.

Now using certain light and temperature conditions, cultivators can develop strains with intense purple hues. But be forewarned, even if you purchase seeds of a notoriously purple strain, there’s no guarantee your buds will be purple!

The purpling comes near the end of the growth cycle when chlorophyll is at its lowest. LED lights may encourage the development of anthocyanins while subduing chlorophyll growth, giving you a better chance of purple cannabis. Ultimately, it’s a careful balance between providing a controlled amount of stress. Too much and you’ll ruin your harvest; too little, no purple weed. 

So, if you’re growing purple cannabis from clones or seeds, you may need to do a little extra work to achieve those glorious colors! 


What’s the difference between cannabis sativa and indica?

Read our 23 Reasons to Love Cannabis here.


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[…] Want more cannabis facts? Do you know what makes purple cannabis purple? Find out here. […]

[…] and plums to name a few. They also appear in cannabis. Famous purple strains include Grape Ape, Purple Urkle and Granddaddy Purple […]

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