Indian hemp

(Apocynum cannabinum)

Conservation Status
Indian hemp
  IUCN Red List

not listed


N5 - Secure

SNR - Unranked


not listed

Wetland Indicator Status
  Great Plains

FAC - Facultative


FAC - Facultative

  Northcentral & Northeast

FAC - Facultative


Indian hemp is a 2 to 5 tall, erect, perennial forb rising on a single stem from a taproot and long rhizomes. It often forms colonies. The stems and leaves contain a milky juice.

The stems are erect, reddish-brown, branching above the middle, and often covered with a whitish, waxy bloom. The lower stem is hairless, the upper stem hairy.

Leaves are opposite, untoothed, and egg-shaped or roughly egg-shaped but two or more times as long as wide with more or less straight sides. They are on short leaf stalks. The stalks of the main stem leaves are to long. The leaf blades are 2 to 4 long, up to 1½ wide, usually erect or ascending, sometimes widely spreading, with a short, sharp, abrupt point at the tip. The upper surface is hairless and dark green. The underside is pale is usually hairy. The hairiness of the leaves is variable.

The inflorescence is a branched cluster with many flowers at the ends of the smaller stems. It usually does not extend beyond the leaves.

The flowers are to ¼ wide, fragrant, and erect on flower stalks that are just over long.

The 5 white or greenish white petals are united at the base to form an urn-shaped cylinder with 5 lobes. The lobes are erect to spreading and do not curve backward.

The fruit is a pair of 4 to 8 long slender seed pods.




2 to 5


Flower Color


White or greenish white


Similar Species


Spreading dogbane (Apocynum androsaemifolium) is a shorter plant. The leaves droop downward. The inflorescence usually extends beyond the leaves. The flower is larger, bell-shaped, with pink vertical stripes. The corolla lobes bend backward strongly.


Dry to moderate moisture. Prairies, roadsides, railroads, open sites.




July to August


Pests and Diseases


Dogbane saucrobotys moth (Saucrobotys futilalis) larvae create conspicuous nests by weaving together leaves.




Distribution Map



2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 24, 28, 29, 30.









  Kingdom Plantae (green algae and land plants)  
  Subkingdom Viridiplantae (green plants)  
  Infrakingdom Streptophyta (land plants and green algae)  
  Superdivision Embryophyta (land plants)  
  Division Tracheophyta (vascular plants)  
  Subdivision Spermatophytina (seed plants)  
  Class Magnoliopsida (flowering plants)  
  Superorder Asteranae  


Gentianales (gentians, dogbanes, madders, and allies)  


Apocynaceae (dogbane)  
  Subfamily Apocynoideae  
  Tribe Apocyneae  
  Subtribe Apocyinae  


Apocynum (dogbanes)  

Subordinate Taxa






Apocynum cannabinum var. angustifolium

Apocynum cannabinum var. glaberrimum

Apocynum cannabinum var. greeneanum

Apocynum cannabinum var. hypericifolium

Apocynum cannabinum var. nemorale

Apocynum cannabinum var. pubescens

Apocynum cannabinum var. suksdorfii

Apocynum hypericifolium

Apocynum pubescens

Apocynum sibiricum

Apocynum sibiricum var. cordigerum

Apocynum sibiricum var. farwellii

Apocynum sibiricum var. salignum

Apocynum suksdorfii

Apocynum suksdorfii var. angustifolium

Apocynum suskdorfii


Common Names


American hemp



common dogbane


hemp dogbane

Indian hemp

Indian physic


Indianhemp dogbane


prairie dogbane














The upper angle where the leaf stalk meets the stem.



A collective name for all of the petals of a flower.



A horizontal, usually underground stem. It serves as a reproductive structure, producing roots below and shoots above at the nodes.

Visitor Photos

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Dan W. Andree


Blooming Dogbane Plant...

    Indian hemp      


    Indian hemp   Indian hemp  
    Indian hemp      


    Indian hemp   Indian hemp  
    Indian hemp   Indian hemp  
    Indian hemp      


    Indian hemp   Indian hemp  
    Indian hemp      


    Indian hemp      



  Apocynum sibiricum PRAIRIE INDIAN HEMP
Frank Mayfield
  Apocynum sibiricum PRAIRIE INDIAN HEMP  



Visitor Videos

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Other Videos
  Common Woodnymph Cercyonis pegala feeding on Apocynum cannabinum flowers
Meena Haribal

Uploaded on Jun 30, 2009

In late June and July Common Woodnymph - Cercyonis pegala, is common sight in the meadows.

I had never seen this species feed on any flowers, generally Satirids do not feed as adults. But I was surprised to see freshly emerged Woodnymphs nectaring from Apocynum cannabinum flowers.

  Soft as Silk - Strong as Steel: The living heritage of Apocynum Cannabinum

Uploaded on Sep 21, 2011

This video tells to story of how a partnership between state, federal and tribal organizations helped preserve the historic Apocynum Cannabinum or Dogbane plant in Oregon's Willamette Valley.




Visitor Sightings

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  Dan W. Andree

Location: Sandpiper Prairie SNA, Norman Co. MN

Blooming Dogbane Plant...

Indian hemp  

Agassiz Dunes SNA (MN DNR)

Anna Gronseth Prairie

Antelope Valley SNA

Baker Park Reserve

Belgium Prairie

Bertram Chain of Lakes Regional Park

Big Stone Lake State Park

Blaine Preserve SNA

Blanket Flower Prairie SNA

Blazing Star Prairie

Blazing Star Prairie Addition Preserve, South Unit

Blue Mounds State Park

Buffalo River State Park

Butternut Valley Prairie SNA

Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

Cedar Mountain SNA

Cedar Rock SNA

Charles A. Lindbergh State Park

Chippewa Prairie

Clifton E. French Regional Park

Clinton Prairie SNA

Compass Prairie SNA

Cottonwood River Prairie SNA

Crow-Hassan Park Reserve

Des Moines River SNA

Felton Prairie SNA, Bicentennial Unit

Felton Prairie SNA, Shrike Unit

Felton WMA

Foxhome Prairie

Frontenac State Park

Glacial Lakes State Park

Glynn Prairie SNA

Gneiss Outcrops SNA

Greenleaf Lake SRA

Hastings Sand Coulee SNA

Hastings SNA

Helen Allison Savanna SNA

Hole-in-the-Mountain Prairie

Hyland Lake Park Reserve

Hythecker Prairie SNA

Iron Horse Prairie SNA

Itasca State Park

Jensen Memorial WMA

John Murtaugh Memorial WMA

John Peter Hoffman Spring Brook Valley WMA

Joseph A. Tauer Prairie SNA

Kasota Prairie

Kasota Prairie SNA

Kellogg Weaver Dunes SNA, Kellogg Weaver Unit

Kettledrummer Prairie

Kilen Woods State Park

Lake Carlos State Park

Lake Elmo Park Reserve

Lake Louise State Park

Lake Maria State Park

Langhei Prairie SNA

Leif Mountain

Lost Valley Prairie SNA

Lundblad Prairie SNA

Malmberg Prairie SNA

Maplewood State Park

Margherita Preserve-Audubon Prairie

Miller Prairie, West Unit

Minneopa State Park

Minnesota Valley NWR, Black Dog Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Chaska Unit

Minnesota Valley NWR, Louisville Swamp Unit

Mississippi River County Park

Mound Spring Prairie SNA, North Unit

Ney Nature Center

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Hoffman Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Pavia Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Rengstorf Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Spieker Unit

Northern Tallgrass Prairie NWR, Touch the Sky Prairie Unit

Old Mill State Park

Ordway Prairie

Oronoco Prairie SNA

Osmundson Prairie SNA

Otter Tail Prairie SNA

P.N. and G.M. Nelson Wildlife Sanctuary

Pankratz Memorial Prairie, North Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Crookston Prairie Unit

Pembina Trail Preserve SNA, Pembina Trail Unit

Pilot Knob

Pin Oak Prairie SNA

Pipestone National Monument

Plover Prairie, East Unit

Prairie Coteau SNA

Prairie Creek WMA, Koester Prairie Unit

Prairie Smoke Dunes SNA

Quarry Park SNA

Racine Prairie SNA

Red Rock Prairie

Regal Meadow

Rice Lake State Park

Richard M. & Mathilde Rice Elliott SNA

River Terrace Prairie SNA

Rock Ridge Prairie SNA

Roscoe Prairie SNA

St. Croix Savanna SNA

St. Croix State Park

Sand Prairie Wildlife Management and Environmental Education Area

Sandpiper Prairie SNA

Santee Prairie SNA

Savage Fen SNA

Schaefer Prairie

Sedan Brook Prairie SNA

Seminary Fen SNA

Seven Sisters Prairie

Sheepberry Fen

Shooting Star Prairie SNA

Sibley State Park

Spring Creek Prairie SNA

Spring Prairie Preserve

Staffanson Prairie

Strandness Prairie

Swedes Forest SNA

Thorson Prairie WMA

Tiedemann WMA

Town Hall Prairie

Tribute WMA

Twin Valley Prairie Addition

Twin Valley Prairie SNA

Twin Valley WMA: North Unit

Two Rivers Aspen Prairie Parkland SNA

Tympanuchus Prairie

Verlyn Marth Memorial Prairie SNA

Vermillion River WMA

Western Prairie SNA

Wild Indigo SNA

Wild River State Park

Woodbury WMA

Yellow Bank Hills SNA

Zimmerman Prairie







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