Indian hemp (Apocynum cannbinum L.)

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Apocynum cannabinum in flower

Description

Dogbane (Apocynum cannabinum), also commonly known as "Indian hemp,' is a deciduous perennial herbaceous plant that grows throughout much of North America - in the southern half of Canada and throughout the United States. Bast fibers derived from the plant's inner bark have been used for fibers and cordage throughout North America. Dogbane is part of the Apocynaceae or dogbane family, which is shared with milkweeds, and is not related to true hemp despite one of its common names.

All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested. Indian hemp fibers range from 1-2 meters long and are yellow to brown to gray in color. They have a high cellulose content with little lignin. Dogbane is lustrous, strong, and durable with good resistance to water, salts, light, and insects. Hemp is used for cordage, fishing lines, sailcloth, canvas, and burlap. Dogbane is also used for nets, snares and basketry.

Synonyms and Related Terms

"Apocynum cannbinum L; Indian hemp; amy root; hemp dogbane; prairie dogbane; rheumatism root; or wild cotton; cáñamo indio (Esp.) ; hennep (Ned);

Other Properties

Resistant to water and alkalis. Damage by weak acids and bleaches.

Fiber length = 1-2 m. Fibers have a smooth cell wall with horizontal striations that are often packed close together.

Hazards and Safety

Combustible, may ignite spontaneously when wet.

Fiber Identification

47861db19c71dc5496909587b4efc699.jpg

IH-019-06-24-09-BF-400X-PM-3-9

Source bast
Accession Number 6/18/91-AE.7.5.1-4.1.2.-3.6/24/91 (o) #2
Title Indian hemp, water boil stem, peel fiber
Processing treatment boil in water
Image Identification information IH-019-06-24-09-BF-400X-PM-3-9
Image capture digital
Microscope Zeiss Axioplan
Mounting agent and RI RI: permount 1.515
Microscopic technique Brightfield
Lumen type narrow lumen diameter relative to fiber diameter
Dislocations few dislocations
Fiber size medium fiber diameter, narrow fiber diameter
Surface folds surface folds present
06e00c403db45062b07808dbfa718cfa.jpg

IH-020-06-24-09-DF-400X-PM-3-9

Source bast
Accession Number 6/18/91-AE.7.5.1-4.1.2.-3.6/24/91 (o) #2
Title Indian hemp, water boil stem, peel fiber
Processing treatment boil in water
Image Identification information IH-020-06-24-09-DF-400X-PM-3-9
Image capture digital
Date of image capture 06/24/09
Microscopist l. Crawford
Date of image capture 06/24/09
Microscopist l. Crawford
Microscope Zeiss Axioplan
Mounting agent and RI RI: permount 1.515
Microscopic technique Darkfield
Lumen type narrow lumen diameter relative to fiber diameter
Dislocations few dislocations
Fiber size medium fiber diameter, narrow fiber diameter
Surface folds surface folds present

Additional Information

T.Collings, D. Miller, 'The Identification of Oriental Paper Fibers' The Paper Conservator, vol 3, 1978. Woodlands Fibers

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