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Home > Weeds > Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's Purse—Capsella bursa-pastoris

An annual herb, shepherd's purse is a common weed in disturbed areas, gardens, roadsides and old homesites.

shepherds purse plant shepherds purse rosette of leaves shepherds purse flowers shepherds purse fruit pod
Plants grow in clumps to about 20 inches tall. Many small flowers atop erect stems. Stems grow from a rosette of lobed leaves, each up to 4½ inches long and ¾ inch across. Stem leaves are smaller and spear-shaped. Flowers are small and white, 4-petaled, up to 1/10 inch across and grow in clusters. Flowers from May to July. Fruit pods are triangular to heart-shaped, strongly flattened, on a long stalk, about ¼ inch long.

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[Photos, left to right: Robert Vidéki, Doronicum Kft.,; Steve Dewey, Utah State University,; Mary Ellen (Mel) Harte,; Steve Dewey, Utah State University,]

It is the policy of the State of Maine to minimize reliance on pesticides. The Maine Department of Agriculture and the Maine IPM Council encourage everyone to practice integrated pest management and to use pesticides only as a last resort. The mention of pesticides in the fact sheets linked to these pages does not imply an endorsement of any product. Be sure that any product used is currently registered and follow all label directions.