Shepherds' purse is a many-stemmed annual with heart-shaped or triangular seed pods. Most people probably view it as a weed. Flowers many, along upper part of stems and their branches, minute, with 4 white, rounded petals. Blooms March–November. Basal leaves form a rosette and are deeply lobed, similar to dandelion but much smaller, to 4 inches long; stem leaves small, lance-shaped. Fruit 2-lobed, heart-shaped or triangular, formed lower on the stem while flowering continues above.
Habitat and Conservation
The young leaves and fruits are rich in vitamin C and are esteemed in salads. Poultry relish this plant, too! Many medicinal uses have been recorded for shepherd's purse, as well, and some herbalists value it today.
Today, you would have to look hard to find a sheep herder who uses a triangular bag shaped like the fruit of this plant, but the name goes back to such medieval fashions.