Indian Hemp:
Dangerous to Livestock

By William T. Hathaway

Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)

Indian Hemp (Apocynum cannabinum) is a perennial herb with erect stems that may reach 6 dm. (2 ft.) in height. Its greenish-white flowers appear locally in late May thru June. Stems exude a milky juice when broken. In late fall the hanging seed pods, no longer a summertime green color, remain as a conspicuous reminder of the plant's presence. This is time to uproot the plant, since it is a perennial with a woody base. Although the thin flat seeds (with a tuft of soft silky hairs at one end) may have been scattered into the winds, no more seeds will be cast from this plant, especially if the plant is uprooted.

Indian hemp rarely forms large colonies in our area. Plants are mostly seen as individuals, scattered in pastures and other open areas. Agricultural experts believe that the green or dry leaves of this plant are dangerous to livestock.

Indian hemp is not related to Cannabis sativa (marijuana).


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