Capsella bursa-pastoris (Shepherd's Purse)
|Also known as:
|part shade, sun; roadsides, waste areas, fields, any disturbed soil
|April - September
|4 to 30 inches
|Wetland Indicator Status:
|GP: FACU MW: FACU NCNE: FACU
|MN county distribution (click map to enlarge):
|National distribution (click map to enlarge):
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Flowers are in rounded clusters at the end of stems that arise from the leaf axils, and at the top of the plant. The stems elongate as the plant matures, with flowers blooming just at the end. Individual flowers are about ¼ inch across when fully open, with 4 rounded white petals and 6 greenish yellow stamens in a ring around a short yellowish style. A plant has a few to several flowering branches, depending on the ground conditions.
There are both basal leaves and stem leaves. The stem leaves are widely spaced, narrowly arrowhead shaped, up to about 1 inch long and about ¼ inch wide, and stalkless. Leaf edges may be smooth or finely toothed, and are sometimes finely hairy. The 2 lobes at the leaf base vary in size.
Shepherd's Purse is a weedy plant that invades lawns, gardens, and many other places where there is soil disturbance. The flowers of Shepherd's Purse are not very distinctive, but the seed pods make this plant easy to identify.
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Photos by K. Chayka taken at Long Lake Regional Park, Ramsey County. Other photos courtesy Peter M. Dziuk.
Have you seen this plant in Minnesota, or have any other comments about it?