Dogbane - Apocynum androsaemifolium

In the winter, stalks of dogbane can be identified by the two-part seed capsules. Such knowledge would have been crucial for people living in this region some 600 years ago. The plant stalks contain fibers just beneath the outer layer and can be twisted together to make twine and even fishing nets. Winter was the best time for this task, since the fibers were mature and the outer stalk layer could be carefully broken away.

For the plant, having strong fibers in the stalk was an evolutionary advantage. The seed pods could be held above the snow and stay in a dormant state until the spring. With warming temperatures, the pods split and the seeds with their attached silk would get carried on the wind. Many northern plants need to keep their seeds from germinating in the fall.

The dogbane flowers are very attractive to butterflies because they are a good nectar source.