Survival Tip: ‘Tis the Season…to Harvest Dogbane for Ropemaking!

Dogbane Cordage

Natural Fiber ropemaking

Now is the time to collect that well-seasoned dogbane (also known as Indian hemp) that you’ve been waiting for all year!

Dogbane can be harvested in late summer when it is still green, and then stored to dry.

It can also be picked in early winter, at a time when it has already naturally dried, but hasn’t broken down yet.

Once it has broken down,  the fibers are useful as tinder for firemaking, not for cordage making.

That’s right–RIGHT NOW, early December is a great time to collect dogbane, milkweed, or any of the fibrous plants used in ropemaking.

The plants still have enough moisture in them to be supple and tough, but not too much moisture.  If you make cordage from plants that have too much moisture (a green stalk) the fibers will be weak when they dry over time.

Plants can be collected from November through February, depending on weather conditions, and the quality of the dogbane.

For a full treatment on the identification and uses of dogbane, visit Primitive Ways website page on dogbane here.

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