Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal

Wildflower Logo.
Wildflowers & Weeds

Facebook Button.
Banner Image.  
Plant Identification, Edible Plants, Weed Ecology, Mushrooms, and more.
Home | Plant Identification | Plant Families Gallery | Edible Plants | Mushrooms | Links
Desertification & Weed Ecology | Profiles of Invasive Weeds | E-Mail | Search this Site

Apocynaceae. Dogbane Family Plant Identification Characteristics.

Plants of the Dogbane Family

      The herbs, shrubs, and trees of the Dogbane family have opposite leaves (rarely alternate) and a milky, latex sap. Most are poisonous to some degree. The flowers are bisexual and regular, with 5 united sepals, 5 united petals, and 5 stamens. Stamens attach at the base of the petals, alternate with the lobes. The ovary is positioned wholly or mostly superior. It consists of 2 carpels, usually separate in North American genera, united only at the styles. Each carpel matures as a separate follicle, a dry, pod-like fruit with a seam down one side. There are many seeds, often with a tuft of hair attached at one end. Some genera produce berries or capsules.

      The traditional family included about 200 genera and 2,000 species, including 11 genera in North America, mostly in Florida. Periwinkle (Vinca) is often used in landscaping. The oleander (Nerium oleander) is grown as an ornamental (and toxic) shrub in warmer parts of our country. Oleander contains cardiac glycosides. Children have died after roasting hot dogs on the sticks. Taxonomists have reclassified the former Milkweed family as a subfamily of the Dogbanes, greatly expanding the size of the family.

Key Words: Plants with opposite leaves and milky juice. Tubular flowers with parts in fives.

Please e-mail Thomas J. Elpel to report mistakes or to inquire about purchasing high resolution photos of these plants.

Apocynum cannabinum. Dogbane.

Apocynum cannabinum. Dogbane. Common along low elevation rivers.

Apocynum cannabinum. Dogbane.

Apocynum cannabinum. Dogbane.

Apocynum androsaemifolium. Spreading Dogbane.

Apocynum androsaemifolium. Spreading Dogbane.

Apocynum androsaemifolium. Spreading Dogbane.

Apocynum androsaemifolium. Spreading Dogbane.
Common in the mountains.

Nerium oleander. Oleander.

Nerium oleander. Oleander. An ornamental shrub cultivated in warmer climates. The vegetation is toxic. Photographed at the Lake Mead National Recreation Area. Nevada.

Vinca major. Bigleaf Periwinkle.

Vinca major. Bigleaf Periwinkle. Photographed in California.

There are more
Dogbane Family pictures

Return to the Plant Families Index

Return to the Wildflowers & Weeds Home Page

authored by
Thomas J. Elpel
Roadmap to Reality: Consciousness, Worldviews, andthe Blossoming of Human Spirit
to Reality
Living Homes: Stone Masonry, Log, and Strawbale Construction
Participating in Nature: Wilderness Survival and Primitive Living Skills.
in Nature
Foraging the Mountain West: Gourmet Edible Plants, Mushrooms, and Meat.
Foraging the
Mountain West
Botany in a Day: The Patterns Method of Plant Identification
in a Day
Shanleya's Quest: A Botany Adventure for Kids

Portal Icon.
Return to Thomas J. Elpel's
Web World Portal | Web World Tunnel

Thomas J. Elpel's Web World Pages
About Tom | Green University®, LLC
HOPS Press, LLC | Dirt Cheap Builder Books
Primitive Living Skills | Sustainable Living Skills
Wildflowers & Weeds | Jefferson River Canoe Trail
Roadmap To Reality | What's New?

© 1997 - 2015 Thomas J. Elpel