Species Detail

Apocynum cannabinum L.
dogbane or indian hemp


Scientific Name:  
Apocynum cannabinum L.
Common Name:  
dogbane or indian hemp
Myaamia Name:  
ahsapa
Uses:  
Material, Technology
Harvest Seasons:  
Winter, Spring
Habitats:  
Deciduous Swamp no coniferous domts.
Locations:  
Geboe Property
Growth Forms:  
Cultivated

Myaamia Archival Sources  
Apocynum cannabinum L.
Reference Source Reference Type Archival Data Comments
Gravier, J. ca. 1700 Technology  'hemp cord' waapahsapiiki (plural) Gravier: 'espece de chamvre dont on fait des cordes asses blanches – Michael Gonella
Dunn, J.P. Circa 1900 Use - Technology  fiber plant for fishnets;
Dunn, J.P. Circa 1900 Use - Technology  for making thread
Blair, E 1911 Use - Material  game of ball with rackets of Algonquian and Iroquoian tribes of the Atlantic seaboard and region of the Great Lakes; much like Lacrosse--played with a single racket which was curved at the end and netted [possibly dogbane; basswood; nettles; or another strong fiber p. 93 –
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903 Use - Technology/Material  p. 212 –
Raudot, A.D. 1904 Use - Technology  cordage for fishing nets made from nettles and wild hemp. The women gather; spin and twist lengths of cordage on their bare thighs. The cords used to draw these nets are made of the bark of basswood or leather. With these nets many fish and beaver are captured. They also fish with still lines [possibly of the same cordage material]
No Reference Specified Use - Material  name for Lacrosse is asahpa tawaani meaning net stick; where the word for net is the same as the word for dogbane; since the net was made from dogbane or similar fiberous material
No Reference Specified Use - Material  there are three Miami items made of hemp; possibly dogbane or nettles; including a sack; medicine pouch and necklace cordage; all housed at the National Museum of the American Indian; in Washington D.C.
No Reference Specified Use - Technology/Material  there are 2 items that are possibly made with plant fibers; which could include dogbane; nettles or basswood; among others; at the Cranbrook Institute in Michigan
No Reference Specified Related Info  an ancient fishing weir dam still exists on the Wabash River; northeast of Peru; Indiana and was and is known to most Miami fishermen. Lamoine Marks was told about it when he was a boy; by his father Charlie; and last saw it while fishing in winter in 1953. Rafert and Marks rediscovered it in July, 1988. This weir dam is described in Outdoor Indiana; July/August 1988
Botanical Sources  
Apocynum cannabinum L.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
Margry, P.   La Salle was one of the first to note the name of a tributary to the upper portion of Illinois River; called masaana [rope] siipiiwi; which is the present day Kankakee River; so named for the surrounding land present day Mazon; McCafferty 2004; pers. Comm. where he noted a great quantity of hemp growing p. 174 –
Gleason, H.A. & Cronquist, A. 1991   open places throughout eastern and western Miami lands
Imlay, G. 1792   present in North America in 1792
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903   p. 212 –
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1903   p. 190 & p. 627 –
Related Sources  
Apocynum cannabinum L.
Reference Source Notes Data Comments
Rafert, S. 1992   used for cordage in contemporary Miami community: 4-5 stalks used to make about 1.5 feet of cordage; made into nets for weir; fishnet--cordage made into a net by wrapping cordage pieces around an end piece of cordage; so that the two ends hand down next to each other; and then tying two of those at regular intervals with a square knot; forming diamond-shaped openings
Burns, N.L. 2003   a plant called sinew weed was used to make thread.
Whitford, A. C. 1941   both Apocynum androsaemifolium; dogbane; and A. cannabinum; Indian hemp; were probably used indiscrimminately for fibers. Pieces of fabric attributed to the Hopewell and Adena culture of Ohio were made using Apocynum fibers and a fish net was made by the Nanticoke. Older specimens have less processed fibers; whereas more recent Indian material is well broken down with fine fibers for thread or cordage.
Coulter, S 1932   dried rhizome and roots; in doses of 0.3-1.2 gm may be used similarly to digitalis; in weakness of heart and artery strength. Dangers in its use are its irritation to the gastrointestinal tract and potential of cumulative action.
Thwaites, R.G. (editor) 1886-1901   Indian hemp grew abundantly in the Miami-Illinois country: p. 187 –
Rafert, S. 1989, August 24-25   there is a place on the Wabash River where there is an old fish weir still visible; probably from the old Miamis. Fish nets; possibly made of dogbane fibers; were used at the mouth of these weirs. Lamoine Marks told Rafert that before the commercial nets; basket nets were made from bark; mostly the inner bark of the slippery elm; or red elm; and these were used at the weirs p. 47 –
Rafert, S. 1989, August 24-25   in old times Miami fishermen used fishnets and baskets to catch fish p. 29 –
Rafert, S. 1989, August 24-25   In more modern times Miami fishermen [like Charlie Marks, 1870-1946; Lamoines father] used commercial seine nets and spears