Indian Hemp

Indian Hemp
Indian Hemp. Apocynum cannabinum.
Apocynaceae, the dogbane family.

Plant: Erect, red-stemmed, branching plant, 2'-5' tall, with opposite leaves and clusters of white to greenish flowers. Broken stems exude milky juice. Perennial.
Flowers: White, 1/8"-1/4", with five-lobed corolla and five sepals. Interior of flower contains a raised, five-lobed structure typical of milkweed relatives. Flowers in a rounded cymose cluster.
Leaves: Opposite, entire, ovate to lanceolate, 2"-4", often with reddish or pinkish veins continuing from the red stems of the plant. Veins exude a milky juice when broken.
Fruit: Elongated pods, 3"-6" long, often in pairs, opening to release seeds with long, silky hairs.
Blooming: June-August
Habitat: Thickets, wood borders, open areas.

Comments: A relative of the milkweeds, this native plant is also known as Hemp Dogbane. All parts of the plant contain a cardiac poison, and the milky sap can be irritating to the skin. The stems contain strong fibers that can be extracted and made into cordage; this use is the source of the common name.

Where to find it: There is a large patch to the east of the pond beyond the trail.