Stems. - Erect, branching, two or three feet high. Leaves. - Opposite, oval. Flowers. - Rose-color veined with deep pink, loosely clustered. Calyx. - Five-parted. Corolla. - Small, bell-shaped, five-cleft. Stamens. - Five, slightly adherent to the pistil. Pistil. - Two ovaries surmounted by a large, two-lobed stigma. Fruit. - Two long and slender pods.
The flowers of the dogbane, though small and inconspicuous are very beautiful if closely examined. The deep pink veining of the corolla suggests nectar, and the insect-visitor is not misled, for at its base are five nectar-bearing glands. The two long, slender seed-pods which result from a single blossom seem inappropriately large, often appearing while the plant is still in flower. Rafinesque states that from the stems may be obtained a thread similar to hemp which can be woven into cloth, from the pods, cotton, and from the blossoms, sugar. Its generic and one of its English titles arose from the belief, which formerly prevailed, that it was poisonous to dogs. The plant is constantly found growing in roadside thickets, with bright, pretty foliage, and blossoms that appear in early summer.
Plate LXVII. Spreading Dogbane. - A. androsoemifolium