Shepherd's Purse

Scientific Name: Capsella bursa-pastoris
Family: Brassicaceae


Shepherdspurse is a winter annual. It forms basal leaves as well as alternating stem leaves. The basal leaves are deeply lobed, pointing away from the base. The root of shepherdspurse is a slender taproot, combined with secondary fibrous roots. The flowers of shepherdspurse are white and borne on erect stems that can branch sparingly. The flowers will appear in terminal clusters. The heart-shaped fruit is a 2-part flattened pod, on individual petioles. The seedpods develop along the erect stems. Flowering can occur from April to September. Shepherdspurse spreads by seed. Shepherdspurse is found throughout the United States.

Cultural Practices

Shepherdspurse does not compete with an actively growing turf stand. It will develop in areas that have been damaged over the summer and have not filled in during the fall. Fall seedlings that have not completely developed are susceptible to shepherdspurse invasion over the winter. The plant dies quickly after producing its seedhead in the spring. Proper mowing will reduce seed production, as the seedhead is erect.

Herbicide Use

Make your post-emergence herbicide application to shepherdspurse that is actively growing and that is in the seedling to flower stage of growth.


Germination Dates

3: August
4: September
5: September
6: October
7: November
8: November
9: December