Wildflowers of Southern Arizona
Dogbane (Apocynaceae) family.
Duration: Perennial. Nativity: Native. Lifeform: Forb/Herb. General: Erect or ascending stems, reddish, glabrous but tough and fibrous bark, growing to 1 m tall, producing a milky latex. Leaves: Opposite or whorled, short petiolate above, sessile below, blades ovate to lanceolate, these 2-14 cm long and 1-7 cm wide, rounded at base but narrowed, mostly ascending, they are glabrous on the upper side and pubescent below. Flowers: In terminal cymes, these with small white flowers, these 5-parted cylindrical to urceolate corollas are 2-5 mm long, slightly longer to twice as long as calyx, lobes erect or slightly spreading. Fruits: Follicle slender, terete, 10-20 cm long, with many seeds each with a tuft of hair at one end. Ecology: Found on disturbed sites, especially along streams, roads, fields, but generally in mesic soils from 3,500-7,500 ft (1067-2286 m), flowers May-September. Distribution: Ranges north throughout the United States to Canada. Notes: This plant loves a variety of mesic habitats and can reproduce asexually through its roots, so it can be found in clumps. Ethnobotany: Used as a hair tonic, used to help mothers stimulate milk production, taken as a laxative, for rheumatism, coughs, pox, whooping cough, asthma, diarrhea, stomachache, as an eye medicine, for worms, and the root was used as a universal remedy. It also has ceremonial uses, the latex was used as a chewing gum, the seeds were eaten, and the bark can make cordage and a whole range of useful things. Etymology: Apocynum is from Greek apo, away from, and kyon dog, hence dogbane, while cannabinum means help-like.
Santa Catalina Mountains.
Location: Beside camp road across from first campsite.
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