Why Colorado Tokers Love Purple Urkle

Purple Urkle is a true mauve mauler.
Purple Urkle is a true mauve mauler. Herbert Fuego
I can’t be the only person who instantly thinks of Family Matters the minute Purple Urkle makes an appearance on a dispensary shelf. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m in the majority.

The history behind the fruity, tranquilizing indica’s name is cloudy. The prevailing theory is that Purple Urkle was named for the strain’s potent high, which often leads to bumping into walls, irritating behavior and falling and not being able to get up — all hallmarks of everyone’s favorite nerdy annoyance in the ’90s, Steve Urkel.

The only argument against that theory is that anyone who’s high on Purple Urkle is far from nerdy, because being nerdy requires a modicum of thought. One session with Purple Urkle will quickly showcase the strain’s powerful sedating qualities, instantly cloaking the brain in a lazy fog. The body’s unraveling isn’t far behind, either, as you’re pulled into a pit of munchies and lethargy before ultimately going off to dreamland.

Anyone smoking Purple Urkle before the sun goes down should expect a nap in the near future, or a very early bedtime, at the least. Those predictable relaxing effects make the strain a great candidate for a litany of medical issues, though, and a reliable way to help you fall asleep when closing your eyes just isn’t enough.

Purple Urkle has been a fixture of the Denver dispensary scene since the early medical days, and — part of the black market long before that. I’ve seen it at Alternative Medicine on Capitol Hill, Altitude the Dispensary, Denver Kush Club, Doc’s Apothecary, Euflora, Green Tree Medicinals, Kind Meds, Lyon’s Finest, Medicine Man, Native Roots, New Amsterdam Organics, Oasis Cannabis Superstore, Silver Stem Fine Cannabis and Urban Dispensary.

Looks: A true purple heavyweight, with dark, velvety calyxes and spots of forest green contrasting against rust-orange pistils and speckles of trichomes. The strain’s buds are largely round or cone-shaped, while their structure is very dense.

Smell: At this point in breeding, plenty of strains take on the syrupy grape smell that made Purple Urkle so popular, but there’s something to be said for trying one of the originals. Each whiff carries hints of berries and grapes up front, followed by notes of soil and wood.

Flavor: Although full of grassy flavors and heavy floral notes if not given the proper time to grow and cure, Purple Urkle can taste like a skunky glass of Welch’s grape juice when done correctly. The honey-like sweetness and berry flavors make the smoke feel thick and sugary, with earthy hints at the end for balance.

Effects: The strain’s effects are much like its color: dark, heavy and intense. Known to treat chronic pain, glaucoma, headaches, eating and sleeping disorders, muscle spasms and other ailments, Purple Urkle and its relaxing effects make it an easy choice for anyone in need of a nighttime strain or massage.

Home grower’s take: “Anyone who was growing weed in California twenty years ago should know what’s up with Purple Urkle. It was one of the first strains that really popped off with that grape flavor and dark violet colors. Also, it doesn’t take very long to produce; I usually pull it down inside of sixty days, no problem. Took me a while to get the smell and yield down, though, because it’s so sensitive. Any blip in lighting or temp will hurt it.”

Commercial grower’s take: “Amazing how it’s been able to stay popular for so long. It may be getting even more popular lately. Growers have really made it such a visually appealing strain, so it’s usually an easy pick for anyone looking for an indica. It’s not the easiest to grow, though, especially for people who have their nutrient line set and won’t improvise. This puppy needs a cooler temperature and beefed-up feeding regimen, and will smell like shit if it doesn’t get what it needs.”

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Herbert Fuego is the resident stoner at Westword, ready to answer all your marijuana questions.
Contact: Herbert Fuego