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Shepherd’s purse

By: Garden Gate staff
You might be familiar with this annual weed’s triangular, “purseshaped” seed pods that follow its tiny white flowers in winter, spring or summer.

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Shepherd’s purse Capsella bursa-pastoris

IDENTIFICATION – You might be familiar with this annual weed’s triangular, “purseshaped” seed pods that follow its tiny white flowers in winter, spring or summer. They form on 4- to 20-in.-tall stems emerging from a rosette of lobed leaves. Gardeners in frost-free climates may contend with shepherd’s purse almost year-round. In cooler areas, it’s generally a spring annual.

FAVORITE CONDITIONS – Shepherd’s purse doesn’t seem to be picky. Other than an intolerance for shade, it grows almost anywhere, from well-cultivated gardens to weedy fields, across the entire United States and southern Canada.

CONTROL – Hand pull or mow down young plants before they drop their seeds. Or treat with a broadleaf herbicide according to directions on the package whenever the plants are actively growing.

Published: April 29, 2008
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