P&PDL Picture of the Week for
October 5, 2009

Shepherd’s Purse

Glenn Nice, Weed Diagnostician, Department of Botany & Plant Pathology, Purdue University

Now that the temperatures are falling the winter annuals are emerging.  One such winter annual common to Indiana is shepherd’s purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik).  In the fall shepherd’s purse can look like several other winter annuals such as the bittercress and in some cases dandelion.  Once it starts producing pods in the spring there is very little mistaking of identity.  The arrow shaped pod is very distinctive giving it its name shepherd’s purse. 

Although shepherd’s purse is fairly common it is easy to control in the fall.  The use of a glyphosate or 2,4-D in the fall when shepherd’s purse is in the rosette will typically control it.  Shepherd’s purse bolts, flowers and starts to set seed early in the spring, often too early for us in Indiana to get into the field.  Once it starts to set seed control can be a little more inconsistent.  In a study at Purdue University control was predominantly above 90% control when glyphosate was added to the tank-mix in the spring.

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Shepherd's purse

Shepherd's purse

Shepherd's purse

Shepherd's purse

Purdue Plant & Pest Diagnostic Lab Purdue Cooperative Extension Service