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Pest Information

Shepherd's Purse

Shepherd's Purse

  • Latin Name: Capsella Bursa-pastoris
  • Common Name: Shepherd's Purse
  • Other Names: Shepherd's bag, pepper plant, case weed, pick-purse, lady's purse, St. James weed, shepherd's pouch, mother's heart.

Pest Details

Shepherd's Purse
Shepherd's Purse
Shepherd's Purse
Shepherd's Purse


Native to Eurasia, but now found throughout North America as far north as Alaska.


A winter annual that produces a basal rosette of leaves and multiple stems from the base. Reproduction is from seeds, with the seeds germinating from late summer to early spring.


Mature plants may be as tall as 20 inches, and stems are slim and weak, tending to fall over as they grow. Stems are covered with long, gray hairs. Leaves mainly as the rosette around the base of the plant, as well as a few leaves on the upper stems. The upper leaves clasp the stem and are narrow and sharply pointed. The lower leaves are long and deeply lobed into many leaflets, as well as a triangular terminal lobe. Flowers are in clusters at the end of the stem, and are small and white to pinkish, and on short stalks. Below the flower cluster the very characteristic triangular to heart-shaped seed pods develop along the stem. These are on long stalks, and are green to reddish.

Characteristicts Important to Control:

Early germination of seeds, and plants maturing in the winter or spring. Common in landscape, as well as poorly maintained turf.

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