Ontario Weeds: Shepherd's purse

  • Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medic.,

Family:

  • Mustard Family (Brassicaceae)

General Description:

  • Annual or winter annual, reproducing only by seed.

Habitat:

Shepherd's-purse occurs throughout Ontario in grainfields, waste areas, roadsides, gardens and lawns.

Seedlings:

  • Lobed basal leaves
  • Hairy lobes
  • Lobes or divisions are more or less uniform on each side
  • Can produce over 33,000 seeds per plant

Stems & Roots:

  • Stems are erect
  • Stems extend 10 - 60 cm (4 - 24 in.) high
  • Stems are branched above or throughout

Leaves

  • Grows from a rosette of lobed leaves at base
  • Leafs are alternate (1 per node)
  • The blades are very variable, oblong
  • Leaf blades are 5 - 10 cm long
  • Shallowly to deeply and coarsely toothed

Flowers & Fruit:

  • Flowers are white and small
  • Flowers produce seed pods which are heart-shaped
  • Flowers from early spring to late fall

Often Confused With / Distinguishing Features

  • It is distinguished from all of the other plants in the mustard family by having heart-shaped seedpods.

Herbicide Resistance

  • No documented cases of herbicide resistance in Ontario to date. Shepherd's-purse is resistant to WSSA Group 2 herbicides in Alberta and Saskatchewan.

Photos and Pictures

Figure 1: Shepherd's purse seedling

Figure 1: Shepherd's purse seedling

Figure 2: Star-shaped hairs on the leaf surface of Shepherd's purse

Figure 2: Star-shaped hairs on the leaf surface of Shepherd's purse

Mature shepherd's purse plant

Figure 3: Shepherd's purse mature plant

Heart shaped seedpod of Shepherd's purse

Figure 4: Heart shaped seedpod of Shepherd's purse

Orange-yellow seeds within the seedpod of Shepherd's purse

Figure 5: Orange-yellow seeds within the seedpod

References

Related Links


For more information:
Toll Free: 1-877-424-1300
E-mail: ag.info.omafra@ontario.ca