– Mustard family
weedy herbaceous annual
Can grow up to a foot and a half tall.
The deeply lobed leaves grow in a basal
rosette. Some might mistake them for that of dandelion, but that
is only at first glance. The teeth of dandelion leaves are sharp
and angled back toward the base of the leaf, while the lobes of
shepherd's purse are opposite and point out from the stem. The
leaves which grow from the stem are lanced shaped, arranged
alternately, and partly grasping.
The single erect stem grows from the center
of the plant.
Late spring to early summer. However,
depending upon climate, this plant can flower anytime
throughout the year.
Loose racemes of
small (approximately 1/10 in across), white, four petaled,
6 stamened flowers.
The heart shaped seed pods, reminiscent of a
purse, which is where the plant received it's common name,
appear shortly after the flowers.
to the the same plant family as broccoli, cabbage, and mustard,
Shepherd's Purse has been used all over the world as a food source
for millennia. C bursa-pastoris is native to eastern Europe and Asia
minor. It has become naturalized just about everywhere in the world.
Disturbed soil, in un-mowed meadows and lawns, and along roadsides
Young Leaves, Seed Pods
Wild Food Uses:
Add young leaves to salads, or use as a cooked green. Older leaves
become too bitter for most people to tolerate. The seeds are said
to have a peppery taste, and can be added to food as a peppery
seasoning, but I have not tried this.
The following text is
meant for informational purposes only. It is not meant to diagnose or
treat any illness or injury. Always consult with a physician or other
qualified medical care provider concerning the diagnosis and treatment of
any illness or injury.
Prior to World War I, it was used in mainstream medical practice
in Britain and The United States as a remedy for uterine bleeding.
C. bursa-pastoris today is considered by many herbalists to be one
of the best herbs for stopping bleeding of any kind, both
internally, and externally. Studies have shown it to be effective in
the treatment of internal bleeding of the stomach, lungs, kidneys,
and urinary tract It is a popular ingredient in many topical herbal
preparations used to treat minor cuts and scrapes. It is often given
to aid women who suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding and other
uterine problems. Shepherd's purse has been shown to be a strong
uterine contractor, and as such should not be used by pregnant
women except during delivery. There is historic evidence that this
plant was used by women to induce abortion via miscarriage.