A landrace sativa variety from South Africa, Durban Poison is known for its spicy/sweet anise-like smell and taste and it's clear-headed cerebral effect. Though it's a (normally) pure sativa, most versions finish fairly quickly and don't stretch like crazy. Many claim the real South African Durban Poison is very racy and finishes as long as 120 days, but that's not the case for the versions available in seed form (Afropips and African Seeds seems to be the longest to finish).
Landrace South African variety, at times crossed with Skunk for stability
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Sam the Skunkman, speaking on the version he is responsible for:
South African Durban Poison was first introduced by me. I got maybe 100 seeds from South Africa and grew them in California in the late 70s. Most were hermaphrodite, small calyxs, as well as not so great buds. But I saw the potential for an early sativa so I worked with it for a few years to clean it up. I finally eliminated most of all the bad traits, and introduced it in the early 80s.
When I took it to Amsterdam it was an immediate hit, one of the few sativa strains that can be grown outdoors in Holland most years if the weather is okay at harvest time. Every seed merchant in Holland bought some and made copies as well as hybrids; all of the Durban Poison genetics being passed around were originally from my work until Afro-Seeds popped up a few years ago. My Durban Poison is sativa, pure IBL Landrace created from seed lines, maintained with clones, male and female. There is no change in the genepool now as any seeds are produced from selected clones 20 years old. The plants had a strong licorice/anise smell and taste, as well as being quite early in maturation. The strength was med-strong, vigor strong, yield quite good, very consistant. To be honest I considered it a daytime smoke.
Durban is known for possessing a very distinct blend of sweet and spicy smells — fennel/anise, orange, lemon, and a creamy sweetness are the most common descriptors.
Very sweet and intoxicatingly complex, Durban Poison presents the sativa-lover with a palate of flavors ranging from sweet lemon candy to spicy anise, making it a favorite of many dispensary patients as well as connoisseurs.
Durban is a fabulous daytime strain, with a clear, functional effects package that stimulates creativity, sociability, and overall mood. It's very energetic and is seen as one of the more pure-feeling sativa varieties widely available on the market. The true South African Durbans are known for being extremely racy and borderline psychedelic, but the toned-down Dutch versions that circulate the United States and Europe lose some of that edge, perhaps for the benefit of the average consumer. The primary medicinal benefits are energy, appetite stimulation, migraine relief, and anti-nausea properties.
Durban was known and loved in Holland because it was one of the few sativas that could finish outdoors — the short-flowering versions are suitable for Northern climates. Grows very tall outdoors, but most varieties are totally manageable indoors, especially with training such as SCROG.