Northern Lights: The Most Famous Indica Plant

northern lights cannabis strain plant

Northern Lights is one of the most famous indica cannabis strains and has far surpassed the reputation of its counterparts. In this article, we’ll discuss the background of one of the most well-known cannabis strains, Northern Lights.

An Indica in A Time of Sativas

The Northern Lights strain first came on the scene as a pure indica, and at some point hybrid cannabis strains were introduced that contained Thai Sativa. Most likely this is the reason why it has a fruit-like flavor and a sort of psychedelic high. Many marijuana plants were cultivated to have/give indica effects, but there are still sativa phenotypes that surface from time to time.

In 1985, Northern Lights arrived in the Netherlands from the Pacific North West and ended up in the hands of Neville Schoenmaker. Neville founded Holland’s first cannabis seed company, which he called The Seed Bank. There are stories that Northern Lights entered the United States through California. Then, supposedly, it was first cultivated by a man named “The Indian” who lived near Seattle, Washington.

Which one is it?

At one point, there were 11 strains called Northern Lights. According to certain sources, Northern Lights 5 was considered best, with Northern Lights 1 following closely behind.

Many people describe Northern Lights as an authentically bred Afghani, with several Indica qualities. These plants appear dark green and durable, having an abundance of flowers that have a purple tint. These plants were also very resinous, with THC levels of 15% or more.

Supposedly Neville Schoenmaker only received female clones of Northern Lights. Not too long afterward, there were tons of new plants surfacing on their list. Some of these unique strains were also Northern Lights. Now, no one knows the whole story as to the source of these new strains. We do, however, know that the plants Neville received from “The Indian” is how he made those unique hybrids. He accomplished this by mixing them with male Afghani plants.

The Strain of Legends

Unfortunately, we can’t verify this story since the information was not well documented. But it is possible that Neville got these Afghani male plants from the same place as the female plants. Most likely, Neville made the new seeds by continuing to hybridize and inbreed the plants from The Indian, together with what he already had.

Attempting to understand the origins of Northern Lights plants in all their unique forms can easily get a little baffling, considering these are not cookie-cutter plants and are inbred.

Northern Lights 1 was said to have not one trace of the Thai Sativa that was added to the Northern Lights strain further down the road. Again, we are not exactly sure when he began mixing Thai Sativa into the equation. All we know is that, over time, it began to appear.

It is possible that the Thai Sativa was bred with the Northern Lights 2 hybrid. One thing that was documented is that male Northern Lights 1 and 2 are definitely the creators of a host of new plants in a 1980’s Seed Bank archive. One example is

Northern Lights 2 – which is a mix of Hindu Kush and Northern Lights 1.

Those two main Northern Lights males are the fathers of many great, unique hybrids which contain the infamously strong G-13 female, along with Big Bud, Hash Plant, Swazi, Skunk, and Haze, to name a few.

A Long Legacy

The Northern Lights 2/Northern Lights 5 hybrid was one of the popular plants of that time. However, another plant that is 1/4 Northern Lights is called Four-Way, which has a bit of Cannabis Ruderalis. It does not quite work well with everyone, but it could be great for someone who wants fast flowering for outdoor grown marijuana plants.

Northern Lights 5, the highest quality plant of its kind, was not sold as a seed. It is safe to assume it was probably the purest of the first plants created. Northern Lights 5 Afghani indica has made many amazingly strong hybrids, when combined with several other strains that The Seed Bank were producing in those days. Nowadays you can find a wide variety of Northern 5 based genetics including Northern Lights, Haze, Skunk, and Jack Herer.

by Robert Bergman, founder of Robert has been growing cannabis passionately for over 20 years and shares this insight to educate growers avoid mistakes and to fully capitalise on a bud’s potential.

Description: If ever a single marijuana strain deserved an entire article – such as this one – dedicated to it, that epic strain would be Northern Lights