Apocynum cannabinum (Indian Hemp)
|Also known as:||Prairie Dogbane, Hemp Dogbane|
|Habitat:||part shade, sun; moist soil, ditches, along roads, deciduous woods|
|Bloom season:||June - August|
|Plant height:||1 to 5 feet|
|Wetland Indicator Status:||GP: FAC MW: FAC NCNE: FAC|
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):|
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):|
Pick an image for a larger view. See the glossary for icon descriptions.
Clusters of ¼-inch or smaller tubular or bell-shaped flowers. Individual flowers have 5 white or greenish-white 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:
Leaves are generally oval with a pointed tip, rounded or narrowing at the base, up to 6 inches long and 2½ inches wide with smooth edges and white or cream colored veins. There is usually a short but distinct leaf stalk, most noticeable on the branches, though lower leaves may be stalkless. Leaves frequently point up. 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.
Notes:Indian Hemp and related Clasping Dogbane (Apocynum sibiricum) are very similar, the only noticeable differences are the latter has (mostly) stalkless, clasping leaves and sometimes has yellowish flowers. The dogbane beetle (Chrysochus auratus) is a phytophagus (plant eating) insect that feeds exclusively on dogbanes (Apocynum spp.). No matter how you feel about insects, this one is as beautiful as a butterfly, with lovely irridescent green armor.
Please visit our sponsors
Where to buy native seed and plants ↓
Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, New Brighton. Photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk taken in Anoka county.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?