Weeds: Shepherd’s-purse – Capsella bursa-pastoris

categories: Sh-Z Weeds

revision date: 2024-06-22 11:01

  • Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)
  • Cycle: Annual
  • Plant type: Broadleaf
Shepherd's-purse flowers and fruits.
Shepherd's-purse flowers and fruits
Photo by: T.W. Miller


Shepherd’s-purse is an annual or winter annual (sometimes a biennial) plant with a thin taproot. The leaves are primarily in a basal rosette and may have smooth edges or be variously lobed or toothed. The leaves are somewhat hairy beneath. Flowers are borne on long upright stems rising from the rosette of leaves. Typically, some smaller leaves occur along the flower stalks, sometimes with branches in the leaf axils. The small, four-petalled, white flowers occur singly and begin blooming at the lower part of the stem first. Seed pods develop on 1/2-inch stalks and are heart-shaped to triangular. It is common for nearly mature seed pods and unopened flower buds to be present on the same stem (at the bottom and top of the stem, respectively).


Shepherd’s-purse is a weed of gardens, fields, waste areas, and similar cultivated or disturbed sites.

Management Options

Use Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for successful plant problem management.

Non-chemical Management

Select non-chemical management options as your first choice!

  • Maintaining a healthy planting or turf area to provide competition will prevent weed establishment.
  • Cultivation (rototilling or hoeing) will effectively eliminate plants.
  • Reduce weed infestation by handpulling weeds.

Chemical Management

IMPORTANT: Visit Home and Garden Fact Sheets for more information on using pesticides.

  • Apply according to label directions.
  • Glyphosate products should be applied as spot treatments only!
  • NOTE: Some ingredients listed here are only available in combination.
  • Read the label carefully on combination products to make sure the product is suitable for your specific situation.


Landscape areas

  • dichlobenil
  • glyphosate
  • products containing diquat

Turf areas

  • products containing 2,4-D
  • products containing MCPA
  • products containing MCPP
  • triclopyr

Bare ground areas

  • glyphosate
  • products containing 2,4-D
  • products containing diquat
  • triclopyr

Additional Images