This plant is poisonous in nature.
Dogbane has also been called Indian hemp, bitter root and rheumatism weed.
It is a perennial plant, with long red colored stems that rise up in a sort of cluster to grow about three feet tall. When it is cut it emits a milky thick sap.
It is like the milkweed plant in this respect.
The leaves are either opposite or in a whirly pattern, with three leave coming from the same place on the plant.
They are smooth on the edges, with no cutting or jagging on the edges.
On the top they are waxy green, while below they have small whitish colored hairs on them.
Very small white or yellowish white flowers are in clusters on the top.
The flowers are shaped like a cup in nature.
Dogbane lives in moist areas, along rivers or creeks, and may also be found in swampy areas such as ditches or fields that are being watered.
It can be found from New England to Texas and California.
The flowers appear in late spring throughout the summer, and are pollinated by small wasps, flies and bees.
A naturally occurring cardia stimulant, called cymarin can be found in the plants roots, and is listed in a medicinal text in an early pharmacopoeia from the forties and fifties in the US.
The sap can cause the skin to blister when it is directly applied to the skin.
This has been growing in my yard for several years. It would either get run over by the lawn-mower or eaten by the deer. This year, I put a tomato cage around it to protect it. I was going to wait for it to flower before I posted it here, but I got impatient waiting.