Capsella bursa-pastoris – Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris - Shepherd's Purse

Capsella bursa-pastoris - Shepherd's Purse

Plant Name

Scientific Name: Capsella bursa-pastoris

Synonyms: Bursa bursa-pastoris, B. gracilis, Capsella rubella, Thlaspi bursa-pastoris

Common Name: Shepherd's Purse

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Annual

Growth Habit: Herb/Forb

Arizona Native Status: Introduced

Habitat: Riparian. This weed can be found growing in lawns and other irrigated areas. It is equally likely to occur in wetlands or non-wetlands.

Flower Color: White

Flowering Season: Spring

Height: To 20 inches (51 cm) tall

Description: The tiny, 4-petaled flowers are clustered on slender flower stalks. The flowers are followed by distinctive heart-shaped seedpods. The leaves are in a basal rosette and are green, oblanceolate, and often pinnately lobed or dissected.

Special Characteristics

Edible – The entire plant is edible, but the leaves are most often used. The young leaves can be eaten raw in salads or cooked as greens. The older leaves are more peppery.


Kingdom: Plantae – Plants
Subkingdom: Tracheobionta – Vascular plants
Superdivision: Spermatophyta – Seed plants
Division: Magnoliophyta – Flowering plants
Class: Magnoliopsida – Dicotyledons
Subclass: Dilleniidae
Order: Capparales
Family: Brassicaceae – Mustard family
Genus: Capsella Medik. – capsella
Species: Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik. – shepherd's purse

More About This Plant

Arizona County Distribution Map