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The History of White Widow Cannabis

Probably, the most well known cannabis strain in the world today, White Widow has gained global popularity thanks to countless awards since its release in 1994. Regularly used to make new hybrids, White Widow is extremely potent and is available at almost every seedbank in the world. Learn more about the origins of this famous strain here.

White Widow is without a doubt one of the most successful commercialized cannabis strains on the market today. Perhaps that’s also the history of White Widow is so problematic.

This legendary plant has since its birth in 1994, won a number of awards, including the first prize in the 1995 High Times Cannabis Cup. Known to be highly resinous and extremely potent, the plant has the ability to humble even the most experienced smoker and has been used in the making of countless new hybrids, always improving on quality.

The Complicated Origins of White Widow Cannabis

The name White Widow is usually linked with several different breeders and today almost every seed bank offers its own version of the plant, including Seedsman.

The battle over who actually invented the strain has turned into a political struggle, dividing the public into two camps. Some believe that the White Widow was discovered by a man named Ingemar, while others take the side of another skilful breeder known as Shantibaba.

Where White Widow Began – Version #1

The White Widow strain was first released to the public by the Green House Seed Company in 1994.

The pedigree of this famous sativa/indica hybrid is made up of a pure Brazilian sativa mother and a South Indian, Keralan hybrid father. The exact origins of the mother plant remain somewhat of a mystery but the most educated guess is that it could possibly be the old school, Brazilian landrace Manga Rosa, which has a long history of spiritual use.

As the story goes, the genetics were discovered during a trip to India where Shantibaba was approached by a man, who after sharing a joint with him, eventually led him to his farm in the mountains of Kerala. The farmer then introduced him to an indica hybrid that had been selectively cultivated and bred towards optimum resin production in his village for a very long time.

After several days of sampling the farmer’s plants, Shantibaba left for the Netherlands with a batch of fresh seeds, from which he was soon to discover the male for his White Widow cross. He eventually bred it to the Brazilian Sativa mother, forming the spectacular White Widow.

When Shantibaba was still the co-owner of Green House Seeds, he established several new and superior hybrids while working alongside Neville Schoenmaker (the father of Dutch seed banks) on joint projects. Some of the stock that they used dated back to the early days of the Seed Bank that Neville himself had founded, a company that later became reformed under new ownership and known as Sensi Seeds.

After a conflict of interests between the owners of Green House, Shantibaba sold his half to co-founder Arjan in 1998 and left for Switzerland to form the Mr Nice Seedbank in collaboration with Howard Marks and Neville Schoenmaker.

Shantibaba then concentrated on supplying growers with superior quality strains from both old and new world genetics. He started breeding the Widow under the flag of his newly formed brand and gave it the name Black Widow since the name White Widow was already being marketed by Green House Seeds.

White Widow Origins – Theory #2

According to an interview for the German cannabis magazine Grow; a breeder named Ingemar is also accredited with inventing the White Widow strain. This is where the history of the plant becomes problematic.

Ingemar was apparently working on some strains for the Green House Seed Company in the past, much like he is now, and he quite possibly had a hand in developing the White Widow strain.

Ingemar says that the seeds for the White Widow hybrid were accidentally found in a batch of hand-rubbed hashish and that the strain was then worked on for some six years before it was released.

If this is true, the birth of the Widow can be dated back as early as 1988, although there are no records to confirm this. The earliest descriptions of the White Widow were made by Shantibaba in 1995, while he was still working under the Green House flag.

There is substantial support from the Dutch growing community but there is little in terms of historical data to support this claim.

Where Does White Widow Cannabis Come From?

There is no way to know, for certain, the plant’s true origins.

Shantibaba claims the parents are tucked away in the Mr Nice Seeds library, and that they alone are capable of reproducing the hybrid

. In other words, most other Widows must be founded on progeny that originates further down the line and they are also most likely out crossed with something else. Further evidence to support this theory comes from the plant itself.

The plant from The Mr Nice Seedbank seems to have the most in common with the White Widow that the Green House Seeds Company entered into the Cannabis Cup in 1995. Ingemar offers his own version of the White Widow and several White Widow hybrids, like the notoriously potent Ingemar’s Punch, through the DeSjamaan seed bank and the White Widow Web.

history of white widow

His substantial contribution to the varieties offered by the Green House Seed Company should, however, not go unnoticed.

The fact however remains that all these plants can be traced back to the original breeders Shantibaba and Neville, who in an attempt to avoid confusion, renamed some of their strains.

Sadly, despite their efforts, confusion and contradiction ensued and even more breeders emerged, claiming to have invented the White Widow strain.

Today almost every breeder and seed bank sell seeds that they claim to be the original White Widow. In 1996, both the Nirvana and Dutch Passion seed companies purchased a single pack of White Widow seeds from Green House Seed Company and within a year released their own versions of the Widow.

Undoubtedly all very potent and nice plants, the question whether or not all the White Widow plants on the market today can actually be considered pure remains highly speculative since the only true parental stock remain in the sole care of Shantibaba and the Mr Nice Seedbank.

Why so many different breeders claim to have personally invented this strain is puzzling although understandable due to its commercial success. New breeders keep emerging, claiming authority over the White Widow strain. There can, however, be only one truth, however hazy it has become over the years.

Can we say for certain who bred the very first White Widow strain? No, we can’t, and those that can both have legitimate claims. So, it remains one of the cannabis world’s great mysteries.

Grow your own White Widow Cannabis

Seedsman seeds have our own version of White Widow, in 4 different varieties suitable for all types of growers.

White Widow Feminised

White Widow fem is designed for the utmost potency rather than any complex flavour profile although the smoke is very smooth and satisfying. The initial hit comes on fast and strong, which can leave anyone but the most experienced canna-seur needing to sit down, but this then slowly evolves into a very relaxing high ideal for enjoying music.

history of white widow

It is an easy strain to grow almost anywhere; its eight-week flowering period ensures that it will be ready to harvest outdoors in October in northern latitudes before the weather gets too cold. THC levels are high, around 20%.

White Widow Regular

These are White Widow seeds in their purest form.

This is a great indoor strain which takes around 8 weeks for flowering to finish although it can also do very well outdoors in warmer regions where it will be ready to harvest in late October in the northern hemisphere.

history of white widow

It provides great breeding stock and will find favour with those who are looking for a marijuana strain that is quite easy to cultivate but which has a powerful effect that hits hard and fast gradually evolving into a more relaxing effect.

White Widow Fast

White Widow Fast retains the qualities that have made the original White Widow such a hit with smokers and growers alike for so long yet manages to shorten its flowering time by a week.

The South Indian and Brazilian heritage produce white, frosty, knock-out buds that have become a by-word for fast-acting, hard-hitting weed. Buds appear to have been dipped in sugar crystals and have a beautiful smooth smoke. Yields of this high-THC indica/sativa strain are decent at 350 – 450 gr/m2 in 6 – 7 weeks of flowering. Outdoors and greenhouses are also suitable environments due to it being ready to harvest during September in northern latitudes

White Widow Auto

White Widow Auto takes the legendary White Widow strain a stage further so that growers no longer need to worry about reducing photoperiods in order to stimulate the onset of the flowering cycle.

history of white widow

The introduction of ruderalis genetics allows harvesting of trichome-covered frosty buds in only 11 weeks from germination from vigorous, quite short-statured plants that enable discreet outdoor crops to be grown almost anywhere. Yields are pretty impressive; up to 125 gr per plant!  


Cultivation information, and media is given for those of our clients who live in countries where cannabis cultivation is decriminalised or legal, or to those that operate within a licensed model. We encourage all readers to be aware of their local laws and to ensure they do not break them.

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