Capsella bursa-pastoris

Scientific Name Capsella bursa-pastoris
Common Names English: Shepherd's-purse; German: Hirtentäschel, French: Capselle bourse à pasteur; Spanish: Bolsa de pastor;
Description Annual or hardy-annual (facultative biennial), seed-propagated weed with many forms and spindle-shaped root.

Descriptions

Characteristic Features

Young plant rosulate with white flowers. Heart-shaped flat and triangular fruit (shepard's purse).

Cotyledons

Oblong-oval, very small, short-petiolate, prostrate.

Stems

Erect, simple or projectingly ramified, up to 50 cm (19.68 inch) high.

Leaves

Initially orbicular or spoon-shaped, first leaf usually entire; following leaves oblong, dentate or sinuately lobed to deeply incised, all petiolate.
Stalk leaves lanceolate, often undivided, sagittate sessile.

Propagatio Organs

Flowers

Small, white, in terminal, umbellately compacted inflorescence.

Flowering Period

Almost all year round.

Fruit

Heart-shaped flat and triangular pod, 4-9 mm (0.16 - 0.35 inch) long, slightly lobed at the base.

Seeds

Germination occurs almost all year round, especially in autumn. Seeds are light brown and almost smooth.

Viability Of Seeds

16-35 years.

Propagation

C. bursa-pastoris is a shallow germinator partly with two generations per year.
2,000-40,000 seeds/plant.

Occurrence

Habitat

Fields, gardens, ways, cultivated beds.

Soil

Shepard's purse has few demands on soil but prefers friable soil.

Additional Crop Information

Almost all crops, mainly row crops, oil seed rape and cereals (summer and winter cereal).

Agricultural Importance

C. bursa-pastoris is commonly found in all crops. It only leads to low yield reduction and does not interfere with combine harvesting, however large infestations can significantly decrease crop yield and quality.
Shepard's puse is also a host for nematodes.

Control

Integrated Crop Management

Mechanical weeding often suppresses this weed.

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