Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's Purse
Shepherd's Purse. Capsella bursa-pastoris.
Brassicaceae, the mustard family.

Plant: Erect, occasionally branching, plant, 4"-16", with slightly hairy leaves and a terminal cluster of small, white flowers at the top of a stem bearing small, triangular seed-pods on slender stalks. Annual.
Flowers: White, small, about 1/8", with four petals and four sepals, on a raceme. The flowers are usually in a tight cluster at the end of the raceme, which elongates as the fruit matures.
Leaves: Basal and alternate, lanceolate; basal leaves lobed, 2"-4" long, stem leaves smaller, generally with smooth margins, and clasping the stem. Often slightly hairy.
Fruit: Triangular capsules 1/8"-1/4" with a notch containing a small beak, on threadlike stalks, standing out from the raceme. The common name refers to the shape of the fruit.
Blooming: April-Fall
Habitat: Fields, roadsides, waste areas.

Comments: Blooms early, then seeds and new plants may bloom through late fall. The foliage, like that of many members of the mustard family is edible, and can be boiled as a potherb.

Where to find it: Scattered in lawn areas near the road before they are mowed and some other open locations.