Capsella bursa-pastoris 

Shepard's Purse

Names and Myths

Capsella diminutive of capsa a box

bursa-pastoris bursa an old generic name

Shepard's Purse

Natural history / Folklore

Naturalized from Europe, extremely variable in foliage. Each plant is able to produce 40,000 seeds. Following germination these seeds are able to capture microscopic organisms in a sweet sticky substance that covers the seed. Their demise provided fertilizer for the plant.57


Hardy annual can grow to 2 feet in height. Flowers in the early spring. The seedpods are an key feature resempling old time European shepard's food pouches.57

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