The name shepherd’s-purse was given to Capsella bursa-pastoris due to its triangular purse-like pods. This hardy annual broadleaf plant germinates early in the spring; but if it germinates in the fall, it overwinters as a rosette and produces flowers and seeds very early, making it difficult to control.
The cotyledon of Shepherds purse is similar to a football in shape and is a dull green colour; they are extremely small in size only ranging from 2-5 mm in height.
The mature plant leaves all have slightly different shapes but all are covered in distinct hairs. Leaf length is approximately 3-10 cm and can be lobed or jagged. Once true leaves appear, they will have star shaped hairs – a key characteristic in its identification. At maturity, Shepherds purse can reach up to 50 cm in height. Flower stalks are usually 10-15 cm long that produce flowers that are white with four petals
Optimal growth conditions
Shepherds purse is most often found growing in direct sunlight with moist to dry, rich soils. This is a very adaptable weed that does well in numerous types of conditions.