Belladonna: A foxy beauty with strong mental powers
What do you expect from a strain called “Belladonna”? Well, those aware of the fact that this name means “beautiful lady” certainly think of extraordinary gracefulness and highly attractive female cannabis plants with shapely sexual characteristics - which in this case means voluptuous flower clusters...
In addition to that, botanists will also know that (atropa) belladonna is the botanical name of the deadly nightshade plant, an extremely poisonous drug. So to them, this strain name promises a very high degree of potency as well. Yes, “Belladonna” is full of positive connotation, undoubtedly a very well chosen strain name. However, put to a cultivation test, would this Paradise Seeds variety be able to live up to this big promise?
Belladonna is one of Paradise’s original old school strains: To create it, they combined the legendary Super Skunk with a secret mostly sativa strain which resulted in a 60:40 sativa/indica genetic profile. Introduced in the late 1990s, Belladonna instantly earned itself a strong following in the USA, Spain and the Netherlands, also becoming a multi award winner over the course of the years, thanks to its favorable qualities: a flowering time of 60 days allows for a quick harvest of thick tight resinous buds with a high calyx-to-leaf ratio, producing a strong sativa high that provides the smoker with an effect that is euphoric and mind-blowing (even hallucinogenic); it smells and tastes delicious, fruity and pungent; very easy to grow and a versatile plant too, Belladonna requires only a little maintenance and also distinguishes itself through excellent mould resistance, with its reduced foliage acting as a natural defense.
Indoors, Belladonna harvests of up to 450g/m2 can be expected, and Paradise particularly recommends it for Sea-of-Green setups. Outdoors, Belladonna ripens around mid-October and will be at her very best in warmer climates, e.g. Southern Europe and California. But also gardeners in more Northern regions such as The Netherlands, England and Germany will appreciate her reliable top-notch performance under natural light. Under optimum outdoor conditions, up to 800 grams per plant are possible, which makes it a favorite with commercial growers.
For our test grow we ran with two feminized Belladonna plants, which were grown together with three fems of Paradise’s White Berry strain. The small grow chamber, a customized broom cupboard, was illuminated by twelve SANlight M30 LED modules. They were in a vegetative for 25 days, growing to a height of 41 and 46 cm in height. before being induced into flower. These two plants grew very easily, branching out early, with the sativa gene not causing too much stretching. The side branches grew upward rather than sideward, making for quite a slender plant profile, making it very obvious why this variety is recommended for Sea-of-Green cultivation.
During the course of their flowering, the two plants almost doubled in height, reaching a maximum of 86 and 95 cm respectively. However, it was the proliferation of big fat buds spurting from all over the plants that really caught the eye. From flowering week five, the buds started to fill up massively, until they were big and dense. Laden with these tight XL-sized buds, Belladonna proved to be a heavy producer, in the best tradition of Super Skunk. In addition, the calyxes and bud leaves also had a rich gooey resin coating which gave off an intense fresh ‘n fruity scent.
The two plants were harvested after 62 days of flowering at which time there were about 75 percent withered stigmas. Once chopped down there was ridiculously little trim - literally just a little snip here and a little snip there was all that was needed. When the buds were dried and cured weeks later, they had retained their very appealing fruity aroma that now had a slightly minty note as well. And how about the weight? These two sultry ladies weighed in at a healthy 81 and 89 grams.
The dried chubby Belladonna nuggets, with their thousands of stigmas having turned orange-brown, looked like they were wrapped in a fox fur coat (fake of course!) like some kind of Super Skunk Deluxe! The smoke (in a spliff) tasted sweet, felt refreshing on the palate and pleasantly mild on the lungs. Within a minute the blood was pumping from the chest straight to my head, a prickling sensation spreading over the face, an immediate effect that energized and deliciously stimulated.... A few more hits, and the corners of the mouth could not help lifting into a permanent broad smile! And yet there was something else too... after a while, a creeping sense of the psychedelic kicked in too, as if a picture book of the subconscious was being drawn by the sultry Belladonna. So this is definitely one to stimulate those creative juices or to sit back and see the world a different way... but never fear, Belladonna does not take herself too seriously and it wasn't long before this special lady showed off her happy-go-lucky effects with an uncontrollable attack of the giggles!
Needless to say, Belladonna is a plant to capture the heart in terms of quality and quantity. She turned out to be a foxy lady with big perfect curves and strong mental powers, a cannabis supermodel with no airs and graces – who wouldn’t want that?
Words and pictures by Green Born Intent (G.B.I.)
Plants grown by Ellis D
First published in Weed World Magazine edition 121
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