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Description for Hemp dogbane
Initially, this plant develops an erect central stem with opposite leaves during the late spring, but during early to mid-summer it branches abundantly. The stems are light green to red, terete, glabrous, and sometimes glaucous. At intervals along these stems, there are pairs of opposite leaves. These leaves are long and about one-third as much across; they are broadly elliptic to broadly elliptic-oblong in shape and smooth (entire) along with their margins. Each small flower is about 2-3 mm. across and 3-5 mm. long, consisting of 5 white petals.
Planting and care
The preference is full sun and wets to mesic conditions. This weedy plant adapts to mildly acidic to alkaline soil containing loam, clay-loam, or clay-gravel. It readily tolerates flooded conditions during the spring, while tolerating drought later in the year. By late summer, the lower leaves of this plant turn yellow and begin to fall off as its condition steadily deteriorates. In moist open areas, clonal colonies can spread aggressively by underground rhizomes.
Caring for Hemp dogbane
- Dig a hole 2 to 3 times as deep as the bulbs are high and set the bulb in the hole pointy side up. Fill the hole with soil and tamp gently.
- Start with pruning shears for smaller growth.
- Use loppers, which look like giant, long-handled shears, for growth that is more than half an inch thick.
- A small pruning saw is handy, as it cuts on both the push and the pull.
Typical uses of Hemp dogbane
Special features: A perennial with opposite leaves that secrete a milky sap when broken, reaching 3-6 ft in height. Found throughout the United States.
Culinary use: NA
Ornamental use: The plant is used for an ornamental purpose.
Medicinal use: This plant, dogbane, differs from its close relative Indian Hemp (A. cannabinum) in that its leaves are mostly sessile (stalkless), and the flowers are both in leaf axils and terminal. Another plant is also called bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva) was commonly eaten by the Native Americans in Montana.
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