Apocynum sibiricum (Clasping Dogbane)

Plant Info
Also known as: Prairie Dogbane
Family:Apocynaceae (Dogbane)
Life cycle:perennial
Habitat:part shade, sun; moist soil, ditches, along roads, prairies
Bloom season:June - August
Plant height:1 to 4 feet
Wetland Indicator Status:none
MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):Minnesota county distribution map
National distribution (click map to enlarge):National distribution map

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Detailed Information

Flower: Flower shape: 5-petals Flower shape: tubular Cluster type: flat Cluster type: round

[photo of flowers] Clusters of ¼-inch or smaller tubular or bell-shaped flowers. Individual flowers have 5 white, greenish or yellowish petals, fused at the base, the lobes erect or flaring. One plant usually has several clusters, at the top of the plant and at the end of branching stems in the upper part of the plant. The center, terminal flowers in the cluster open first. The clusters start out round then spread out to a broader, more flattened cluster.

Leaves and stem: Leaf attachment: opposite Leaf type: simple

[photo of leaves] Leaves are generally oval with a sharply pointed tip, rounded or heart-shaped at the base, 2 to 6 inches long and to 2½ inches wide with smooth edges and white or cream colored veins. Leaves are mostly stalkless or with a minute stalk (especially on upper leaves), usually clasping the stem with the rounded leaf bases overlapping on the leaf pairs. The underside of the leaves is sometimes slightly hairy. Stems are typically hairless and reddish brown and exude a milky sap when broken The leaves and stem can have a waxy feel to them.

Fruit: Fruit type: capsule/pod

[photo of fruit] Fruit is a pair of hanging, slender, slightly curved pods 4 to 8 inches long. Inside are small brown seeds with a tuft of white hair to carry them off in the wind.


Clasping Dogbane and the related Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum) are very similar, the only noticeable difference is the latter typically has longer stalked leaves (but not always!). Clasping Dogbane may also grow up to 4 feet tall but is often 2 to 3 feet. In some references, Apocynum sibiricum is considered the same species as Apocynum cannabinum, but Flora of North America, our definitive reference, treats them as separate species.

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More photos

Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Polk, Douglas and Anoka counties.


Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?

Posted by: Nancy - Becker County by Sivertson Lake boat ramp
on: 2015-06-26 19:47:41

Saw clasping dogbane for the first time today close to the water by the boat landing on Sivertson Lake. The flowers were just opening. Lovely!

Posted by: Mary - Champlin MN
on: 2017-06-18 19:23:52

I have several stands in my gardens for >20 years. It is fragrant, a bit like the Japanese tree lilac which is also in bloom at this time. It is very tough and invasive and require's yearly digs to keep it in bounds..

Posted by: Connie K - Minneapolis, Lake of the Isles
on: 2017-06-30 10:21:33

Plentiful on the Lake's west side this June.

Posted by: Tim Johnson - Crow-Hassan Park Reserve
on: 2018-06-05 16:38:01

Growing on restored prairie along dirt road.

Posted by: Nadine Thiel - Grant county
on: 2018-07-15 18:44:31

Northwestern Grant county along the roadside.

Posted by: Joan Lubitz - Marshall county, New Solem township
on: 2019-07-21 22:47:03

This area was planted with a native seed mixture for CRP. Can’t find the original seed mixture info. This field was planted about 5 years ago.

Posted by: Casey vanderBent - Lake Saint Croix Beach
on: 2020-06-20 17:53:17

Veritable explosion of this plant in our area this year, both in a boggy area near the Saint Mary's Point Park and along Saint Croix Trail South, along the bike path.

Posted by: K. Chayka
on: 2020-06-20 19:00:07

Casey, more likely you have its relative, Indian hemp.

Posted by: Terry O'Brien - Suomi, north of Deer River
on: 2022-07-29 23:36:46

In the ditch at the Bowstring River outlet from Little Bowstring Lake, on the west side of Alder Road.

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