Shepherds Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)


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Family: Brassicaceae ( Cruciferae) Mustard


Widespread and often common annual of arable land, tracks and waysides. Leaves vary from lobed to entire; upper ones are toothed. Flowers are found all year; they are 2 to 3mm across and white. Seed pods are green and triangular in outline. Height up to 35cm

Found this day Shepherd's Purse is so called from the resemblance of the flat seed-pouches of the plant to an old-fashioned common leather purse A common weed in gardens and fields, it also grows on waste ground and in hedgerows. A rosette of basal leaves grows first, and these are long, tapering, pinnately compound, lobed to entire and narrowing towards the stalk. The stem leaves have no petioles and are enclosing and glabrous. The main stem is erect, the others ascending and terminating in racemes of tiny bisexual white cruciferous flowers, 2-3mm in diameter. The calyx consists of four oval, bowl-shaped, open green sepals; the corolla comprises four oblong white petals, twice as long as the calyx; sometimes it is stunted or undeveloped. There are six stamens with yellow anthers. The flat, heart-shaped pod contains numerous small, oval brown seeds. Capsiella flowers from March to November.

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