[The Dogbane Family in the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon and Washington]

Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane

Apocynum cannabinum

Synonyms: 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

Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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)
The photo above shows a close-up of the flowers of hemp dogbane. Photographed along lower Crab Creek to the north of the Saddle Mts in central Washington........June 22, 2006.

The photo at right shows the upright nature of the stems of hemp dogbane and the short petioles on the upper leaves. Photographed on slopes above the North Fork of the Sun River, Montana........July 31, 1999.
Characteristics:

Hemp dogbane, also known as common dogbane is an erect perennial wildflower with simple, branched stems ranging from 30-100 cm high. The herbage is generally glabrous, although occasionally it may be hairy. The leaves are opposite with the lower stem leaves subsessile to sessile and the upper leaves with distinct petioles. The leaves are often a yellowish-green color and are ascending to erect. They are oblong-ovate to oblong-lanceolate or even lanceolate in shape, and range from 5-11 cm long.

The inflorescence is either a terminal or lateral cyme. The whitish to greenish-white flowers are 2-4 mm long with short tubes and 5 lobes, each of which is lanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate with pointed tips. The corolla lobes are somewhat spreading as seen in the photo above. The 5 calyx lobes range from about half to nearly equal to the length of the corolla. The fruits are long, thin, somewhat sickle-shaped follicles, ranging from 12-18 cm long. The follicles droop.

Hemp dogbane was an important source of cordage for Native Americans. Dogbanes are generally poisonous and not safe for human consumption.

Similar Species:

Hemp dogbane is similar in appearance to clasping-leaved dogbane (Indian hemp), Apocynum sibiricum. The latter species can be most reliably distinguished from the former as all of its leaves have clasping bases.


Paired stem leaves of Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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)

A pair of leaves from midstem on hemp dogbane. The petioles at the bases of the leaves are very short. Photographed at about 2000' along the Dalles Mt. Road, Columbia River Gorge........June 16, 2002.

Habitat:

Hemp dogbane is often found near springs, seeps, river banks, and roadside ditches.


Range:

Hemp dogbane may be found across much of Canada and the United States.

In the Columbia River Gorge it may be found between the elevations of 0'-300' from near Cape Horn east towards Biggs Junction, OR.

Close-up of the inforescence of Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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) - Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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) - Dorsal leaf surface of Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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) - Ventral leaf surface of Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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)

Additional close-ups of the inflorescence and leaves of hemp dogbane. Photographed along the western shoreline of the Deschutes River about one-halfmile upstream from the Columbia River........July 27, 2011.

Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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)

Hemp dogbane as seen along the Columbia River shoreline at Pierce National Wildlife Refuge...........September 27, 2014.

Inflorescence of Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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) - Inflorescence of Hemp Dogbane, Common Dogbane: Apocynum cannabinum (Synonyms: 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)

Close-ups of the inflorescence of hemp dogbane. Photographed at about 2000' along the Dalles Mt. Road, Columbia River Gorge.........June 16, 2002.

Paul Slichter