Shepherd's purse is an annual tap-rooted, introduced European species that is found in North America across Canada and in all but one US state (Puerto Rico) (USDA 2011). This species begins to flower early in lowland areas in BC (February/March). It is found in disturbed sites (roadsides, fields and waste places) in the lowland, steppe and montane zones. It is readily identifiable because of the distinctive fruits (heart-shaped silicles).
Annual herb from a taproot; stems simple to branched, 10-50 cm long, with simple and starlike hairs.
Basal leaves in rosettes, stalked, 3-6 cm long, oblanceolate, more or less entire to pinnately lobed or dissected; stem leaves unstalked and clasping, lanceolate to oblong-oblanceolate, mostly remotely saw-toothed, with earlike lobes at the base.
Inflorescene a many-flowered raceme; flower stalks slender, spreading, 7-15 mm long; petals white, with a distinct stalklike base, 1.5-4 mm long; sepals 2 mm long.
Silicles, heart-shaped to triangular, 4-8 mm long, 3-5 mm wide, strongly flattened, broad at tip, squared-off to slightly notched; seeds numerous, minutely net-veined.
If more than one illustration is available for a species (e.g., separate illustrations were provided for two subspecies) then links to the separate images will be provided below. Note that individual subspecies or varietal illustrations are not always available.
Illustration Source: The Illustrated Flora of British Columbia
||Value / Class
Moisture Regime (SMR)
[0 - very xeric; 4 - mesic;
8 - hydric]
of field plots
species was recorded in:
BEC Zone Class
All BEC Zones (# of stations/zone) species was recorded in
|BG(2), IDF(5), PP(3)|
Source: Klinkenberg 2013
Synonyms and Alternate Names:
Bursa bursa-pastoris (L.) Britt.
Bursa bursa-pastoris var. bifida CrTpin
Bursa gracilis Gren.
Capsella rubella Reut.
Thlaspi bursa-pastoris L.