Encyclopedia Article

Shepherdspurse                              Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medic.

Family:   Brassicaceae (Mustard family)   
Life cycle:   
Winter annual 
Native status:  Introduced
Habitat:   Alfalfa and no-till fields; landcapes; disturbed areas    

General description:   Rosette of leaves up to 4 in long; seedling leaves are slightly toothed, as rosettes mature older leaves are deeply lobed.  Flower stalk reaches height of up to 2 ft with numerous heart-shaped pods.  Leaves on flower stalks are smaller, lanceolate, and lack the deep lobes.

Key ID traits:  Deeply lobed leaves; triangular/heart-shaped seed capsules.

Miscellaneous:   Named because of the unique shape of seed capsules, reminiscent of purses shepherds carried in earlier times.

Shepherdspurse rosette with deeply lobed leaves

The triangular/heart-shaped seed capsules are a distinguishing ID trait.