Mountains covered in trees near the ocean in Hawaii

What Are Hawaiian Landrace Strains?

In our landrace strains guides, we’ve been crossing the globe, from Mexico to Thailand, Africa to Jamaica. It’s time to bring it home to the States and talk about the Hawaiian landrace strains. These strains have been cultivated in some of the most unique terrain in the world, and it’s that terrain that makes these landraces as hearty as they are. In this guide, we’ll share everything we know about these tropical marijuana plants.

What Does “Hawaiian Landrace Strain” Mean?

When we talk about Hawaiian landrace strains, we’re referring to strains that originated in Hawaii. While the seeds may have been brought from other parts of the world, those seeds quickly created plants that became one with the unique terrain and volcanic soil of the archipelago. Hawaiian landrace strains are known for their sweet flavor, spicy-citrus aroma, and beautiful flower buds laced with orange threads.

What Makes Hawaiian Landrace Strains Unique?

Because the Hawaiian landrace strains grow on a chain of islands, there is variety between the different plants. For example, the main island of Hawaii grows a delicious indica landrace strain called Puna Buddaz. Just a bit northwest of Hawaii, on the island of Kauai, grows a sativa landrace called Kaui’i Electric that was cultivated on the side of Mt. Wai'ale'ale. In addition to each island’s unique landrace, the Hawaiian landrace strains are known for their deliciously tropical flavors and their peppery undertones, making them both flavorful and aromatic if you’re lucky enough to get to consume them.

What is the History of Cannabis in Hawaii?

It’s no surprise that marijuana grew well in Hawaii once the seeds found their way to the islands—the soil is rich in minerals, the air is humid and tropical, and there’s more than enough rain to sustain these up-to-12 feet tall plants. But how did the seeds get to the island? The truth is, we’re not exactly sure. 

A newspaper published in 1842 is the first reference we have to marijuana on the islands. The islanders called it pakalolo, or numbing tobacco. While it originally had negative connotations, it’s still a name that’s used for marijuana on the island today. Even though 1842 is the first recorded mention of the plant, it definitely had been on the island long before that. 

There are three possible ways that marijuana made it to the islands. The first theory is that it was brought by Polynesian immigrants when they sailed from Asia to the islands as early as the 4th century. The second theory is that cannabis was brought by Mexican vaqueros, or cowboys, that arrived in the late 1700s to work on cattle ranches. The third theory is that it was a European horticulturist, Joseph Banks, that brought marijuana to the island in the mid-to-late 1700s. If the latter is true, it’s possible the landrace strain, Hawaiian Duckfoot, is one of the seeds sent by Banks to the island.

Our Favorite Hawaiian Landrace Strains

The thing about Hawaiian landrace strains is that it’s hard to pick a favorite. They’re all beautiful with their light green leaves and orange hairs, and they’re all equally delicious and aromatic. In no particular order, these are the five landrace strains you should definitely try if you can get your hands on them:

Hawaiian Sativa


The name may not be too creative, but it doesn’t need to be because this 100% pure sativa swaps creativity for flavor. Its sweet, tropical flavors are completed with pineapple undertones that add nuance to its peppery notes and sour tang. It’s truly a flavor profile unlike anything else we’ve seen on the market outside of the Hawaiian landraces. Hawaiian Sativa is also visually captivating, known for its banana-like flowers dusted with orange tendrils. Like many landraces, its potency ranges from a moderate 14% to a high 21% in THC, making it enjoyable for both new cannabis consumers and experienced enthusiasts. While Hawaiian Sativa can certainly stand on its own, it has also created a number of popular hybrids, including Kona Gold.

Kauai’i Electric


If you’re looking for a strain that combines the sweetness of a Hawaiian landrace but the earthy spice of a strain like OG Kush, look no further than Kauai’i Electric. While it originated on the side of Mt. Wai’ale’ale, it has since been grown and bred in other areas of the island, though it maintains its tropical berry taste with peppery, herbal undertones no matter where it’s grown. This strain has moderately high levels of THC at 16-18%, but it’s unique to this list because it also has 4% CBD.

Puna Buddaz


This 100% indica landrace hails from the rainiest part of the Hawaiian islands—the Puna District. Like all the other landraces on this list, Puna Buddaz is delicious, but you will notice a slightly different, skunky note with this strain compared to the others. Some cannabis enthusiasts even have described it as overly sweet and earthy, like a strawberry left on the vine for too long. While its flavor profile might be a little odd—though not quite as odd as some diesel strains—it remains just as mouth watering as any other Hawaiian landrace. Puna Buddaz falls in the moderate range for THC potency, leveling out at around 16%.

Maui Wowie 

Sativa-Dominant Hybrid

Typically, landrace strains are either 100% sativa or 100% indica, but there’s nothing typical about Maui Wowie, also called Maui Waui. This unique landrace is 80% sativa and 20% indica, and it carries a storied history with it. It’s said that when veterans and activists escaped to Hawaii during the Vietnam War, the native Hawaiians were none too pleased. One night, at a social gathering, the two groups came together when the native Hawaiians shared a strain that earned the name Maui Wowie thanks to how delicious it was and still is. Whether this is true or not, this flower lives up to the legend with its citrus and lavender scent mixed with pineapple flavor—likely due to the limonene in its terpene profile. That said, if you’re looking for another reason to say “wowie” when you try this strain—it has up to 28% THC.

Hawaii ‘78


Whether you call this strain Hawaii ‘78 or Sweet Lady of Wa’ahole, they both refer to the sativa landrace. The rumor on the island chain is that the mango-meets-pineapple flavor and tangy, earthy flavors were popular with the film crew of Jurassic Park, and whether that’s true or not, its popularity extends to cannabis consumers far beyond the movie set. In addition to Hawaii ‘78 offering a sweet, sensory experience, it also has low levels of THC ranging from 10-12%, making it one of the least potent strains on our list.

Purchasing Hawaiian Landrace Strains

Here’s where we’re going to break your heart—Hawaiian landraces aren’t easy to find. In fact, if you’re not on the islands and you aren’t a medical marijuana patient, it’s possible that you won’t come across any of these landrace strains. But that’s what makes Hawaiian landraces so sought after—in addition to the fact that they’re truly part of cannabis history in the United States. If you happen to see one of these landraces, be sure to snag it because if you don’t, someone else definitely will.

Recreational cannabis is not available in all states. Cannabis is for medical use only and may only be used by certified patients in Ohio and Pennsylvania. State laws impact what dispensaries can and can’t sell to recreational customers and certified patients. Not every type of product, consumption method, dosage form, or potency mentioned on this blog will be permitted in all locations.