Shepherd's-purse
Capsella bursa-pastoris

Family: Brassicaceae (brass-ih-KAY-see-ee) (Info)
Genus: Capsella (kap-SEL-luh) (Info)
Species: bursa-pastoris (BUR-suh PAS-tor-is) (Info)

Category:

Annuals

Height:

under 6 in. (15 cm)

6-12 in. (15-30 cm)

12-18 in. (30-45 cm)

Spacing:

3-6 in. (7-15 cm)

Hardiness:

Not Applicable

Sun Exposure:

Full Sun

Sun to Partial Shade

Light Shade

Danger:

Unknown - Tell us

Bloom Color:

White/Near White

Bloom Time:

Blooms all year

Foliage:

Evergreen

Blue-Green

Chartreuse/Yellow

Bronze-Green

Other details:

This plant is attractive to bees, butterflies and/or birds

Self-sows freely; deadhead if you do not want volunteer seedlings next season

Soil pH requirements:

6.1 to 6.5 (mildly acidic)

6.6 to 7.5 (neutral)

7.6 to 7.8 (mildly alkaline)

Patent Information:

Non-patented

Propagation Methods:

From seed; direct sow outdoors in fall

From seed; direct sow after last frost

Seed Collecting:

Bag seedheads to capture ripening seed

Regional

This plant has been said to grow in the following regions:

Glendale, Arizona

Phoenix, Arizona

Clovis, California

San Diego, California

Aurora, Colorado

Benton, Kentucky

Valley Lee, Maryland

Cole Camp, Missouri

Millersburg, Pennsylvania

Clarksville, Texas

Dallas, Texas

De Leon, Texas

San Antonio, Texas

Syracuse, Utah

Artondale, Washington

show all

Gardeners' Notes:

2
positives
2
neutrals
2
negatives
RatingContent
Neutral

On Feb 7, 2006, raisedbedbob from Walkerton, VA (Zone 7a) wrote:

An invasive but useful plant for the wild food enthusiast. It can be used as a salad ingredient, a cooked green or a seasoning. Add the young leaves to salads or prepare like spinach before the flowers appear. Use the dried seedpods as a pepperlike seasoning.

Negative

On Apr 7, 2005, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

An invasive little weed that seems to pop up everywhere...it is common throughout the US and Canada. Introduced from Europe...probably as a stow-away in baggage or clothing, it is now common throughout the world.


The common name Shepherds-purse comes from the seed capsules, which resemble their namesake. 'Capsella' means 'little box' and bursa-pastoris means 'purse of the shepherd.

Positive

On Nov 3, 2004, RobinH from Onalaska, WI wrote:

Neat little plant, and, as with all plants, it is only as invasive as the grower allows it to be. Grows quite will here in Zone 4

Positive

On Mar 6, 2003, joz wrote:

Very tasty vegetable, and productive. :)

Negative

On Jan 25, 2003, lupinelover from Grove City, OH (Zone 6a) wrote:

A very invasive weed, this plant is difficult to identify until it makes seedpods. The foliage can be from light green through almost black. Seeds germinate anytime the ground is not frozen, and it remains a rosette until flowering, persisting through the coldest winters.

Do not dispose of this plant after it starts to flower in a compost pile: it has the ability to finish ripening seed even in this condition.

Neutral

On May 2, 2002, Lilith from Durham
United Kingdom (Zone 8a) wrote:

A widespread weed often found in gardens and waste places, distinguished by small, heart-shaped fruits. A preparation from the leaves has long been used against inflammation and bleeding, and is still found in some medicines.