Apocynaceae / Dogbane
Ads on this page help pay for this site but if you see one that seems inappropriate here such as one that is counter to the pro environmental theme please let me know which Ad and I will block it.
Report a Bad Ad
Lore: The first European settlers in North America found the natives from many tribes produced a fiber from this plant that rivaled that of the hemp they were used to. Strong, long lasting ropes and fine fishing line could be made from it and nets from the fiber held up well in water. The American Indians produced many useful items from the fiber such as pouches and bags, quilts and clothing. Europeans observed native women making thread from the plant with no other equipment than their hands and thighs which they used to roll the fibers into threads. The fibers have been found in archeological sites thousands of years old.
Consider the following quotes:
and over 160 years later...
(Both quotes from Erichsen- Brown)
Medical Uses: The dried and powered root used by Native Americans as a snuff to cause
sneezing and thus relieve a head cold. Like Spreading Dogbane (A. Androsamifolium) the plant taken internally
could produced anything from a mild diuretic and laxative effect to a purgative effect with profuse sweating depending on
the dose and the potency of the plant. Even so some tribes used it as a tonic. The Chickasaw and Choctaw reportedly
used to treat syphilis by chewing the fresh root and swallowing the juice. It contains cymarin and apocannoside,
glycosides that have shown anti-tumor activity. Warning: Poisonous, possibly deadly, in sufficient doses!
One of the best general guides to wildflowers of the North Eastern and North Central United States. Newcomb's key is an excellent, simple method for identifying plants. Newcomb has drawings for almost every plant mentioned that are excellent aids to identifying the species. Though only the more common plants are covered this is often the first book I pick up when trying to identify a wildflower.
This is perhaps the best of many field guides covering this region. Featuring 446 excellent color photographs (located with the text) and mentioning as similar to those illustrated are another 800 or so species for a total coverage of over 1,200 species. The start of each family section includes line drawings of some of the species showing important features. The text includes the usual description, bloom season, range, habitat and additionally includes information such as medical uses and lore and how the species was named. This is the official field guide of the Tennessee Native Plant Society.
Angiosperms / Flowering Plants
Dicots / Two Seed Leaves