E-Flora BC: Electronic Atlas of the Flora of British Columbia

Apocynum androsaemifolium L.
spreading dogbane
Apocynaceae (Dogbane family)

Introduction to Vascular Plants

© Ian Cumming  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #6016)

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Distribution of Apocynum androsaemifolium
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Species Information

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Perennial herb from a rhizome; stems erect, glabrous or hairy, often reddish, 20-70 cm tall, branching; plants with milky juice.
Stem leaves opposite, spreading and drooping, narrow, oval to elliptic, short-stalked, 3-8 cm long, glabrous above, usually hairy beneath.
Inflorescence of compound, flat-topped clusters; corollas pink or whitish with white veins, sweet scented, 4-10 mm long.
Long cylindric pods, 5-12 cm long, seeds numerous with long tufts of cottony hairs (coma).
Two varieties occur in BC:

1. Corollas bell-shaped, 5-10 mm long; pods drooping..................... var. androsaemifolium

1. Corollas more tubular, 4-7 mm long; pods usually erect........................ var. pumilum A. Gray

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia

Habitat / Range

Dry roadsides, fields, meadows and open forests in the lowland to subalpine zones; common throughout BC except the Queen Charlotte Islands and adjacent coast; N to AK, YT and NT, E to NF and S to GA, TX, NM and CA.

Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia


Ecological Framework for Apocynum androsaemifolium

The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from
original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range.
(Updated August, 2013)

Site Information
Value / Class




Elevation (metres) 60 836 1802
Slope Gradient (%) 0 37 103
Aspect (degrees)
[0 - N; 90 - E; 180 - S; 270 - W]
0 189 360
Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
0 2 7
Modal Nutrient Regime
Number of field plots
 species was recorded in:
Modal BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in: BG(11), BWBS(30), CWH(22), ESSF(13), ICH(322), IDF(389), MS(51), PP(84), SBPS(8), SBS(44)

Ecological Indicator Information

A shade-intolerant, submontane to montane, transcontinental North American forb distributed more in the Cordilleran than the Pacific region. Occurs on very dry to moderately dry, nitrogen-medium soils within boreal, temperate, and cool mesothermal climates. Its occurrence increases with increasing continentality and temperature, and decreases with increasing elevation and precipitation. Usually inhabits unshaded and strongly drained, water­shedding sites with exposed mineral soil or thin Mor humus forms. Characteristic of moisture-deficient sites.

SourceIndicator Plants of Coastal British Columbia (Information applies to coastal locations only)


The climate type for this species, as reported in the: "British Columbia plant species codes and selected attributes. Version 6 Database" (Meidinger et al. 2008), is not evaluated, unknown or variable.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Apocynum ambigens Greene
Apocynum androsaemifolium subsp. pumilum (Gray) Boivin
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. glabrum Macoun
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. griseum (Greene) BTg. & Bel.
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. incanum A. DC.
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. intermedium Woods.
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. pumilum Gray
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. tomentellum (Greene) Boivin
Apocynum androsaemifolium var. woodsonii Boivin
Apocynum pumilum (A. Gray) Greene
Apocynum pumilum var. rhomboideum (Greene) BΘg. & Beloserky
Apocynum scopulorum Greene ex Rydb.

Taxonomic and Nomenclatural Links

Additional Photo Sources

General References