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Apocynum cannabinum

"Indian hemp" redirects here. This name is also used for Arrow-leafed Sida (Sida rhombifolia) which is also unrelated to hemp.
Apocynum cannabinum

Apocynum cannabinum in flower
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
Division: Magnoliophyta
Class: Magnoliopsida
Order: Gentianales
Family: Apocynaceae
Genus: Apocynum
Species: A. cannabinum
Binomial name
Apocynum cannabinum

Apocynum cannabinum (Dogbane, Amy Root, Hemp Dogbane, Indian hemp, Rheumatism Root, or Wild Cotton) is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows throughout much of North America, in the southern half of Canada and throughout the United States. It grows up to 2 meters tall. It prefers moist places. It is a poisonous plant; the name means "poisonous to dogs". All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested.

The stems are reddish and contain a milky latex capable of causing skin blisters. The leaves are opposite, simple broad lanceolate, 7-15 cm long and 3-5 cm broad, entire, and smooth on top with white hairs on the underside. The flowers are produced in mid summer, with large sepals, and a five-lobed white corolla.

It grows in open wooded areas, ditches, and hillsides; in gardens it can be invasive, growing from spreading roots. When growing among corn, Apocynum cannabinum can reduce yields by up to 10% and when growing among soybeans, by up to 40%. It can be controlled through mechanical means, although it is difficult to control with herbicides.


Indian hemp was used as a source of fiber by Native Americans, to make hunting nets, fishing lines, clothing, and twine. It was also used in herbal medicine to treat syphilis, rheumatism, intestinal worms, fever, asthma, and dysentery. Although the toxins from the plant can cause nausea and catharsis, it has also been used for slowing the pulse.

See also


  • Blanchan, Neltje (2002). Wild Flowers: An Aid to Knowledge of our Wild Flowers and their Insect Visitors. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. 
  • Treatment from the Jepson Manual
  • ITIS 30157
  • A. Davis, K. Renner, C. Sprague, L. Dyer, D. Mutch (2005). Integrated Weed Management. MSU.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Apocynum_cannabinum". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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