Indian hemp (Apocynum cannbinum L.)

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Apocynum cannabinum in flower

Description

A bast fiber obtained from retting the stalks of cannabis plants. Indian hemp Apocynum cannabinum, is a perennial herbaceous plant that grows throughout much of North America - in the southern half of Canada and throughout the United States. All parts of the plant are poisonous and can cause cardiac arrest if ingested. 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. Hemp 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. Wild hemp was also used for nets, snares and basketry.

Synonyms and Related Terms

"Apocynum cannbinum L; dogbane; 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.

Additional Information

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

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