shepherd's-purse

shepherd's-purse, annual herb ( Capsella bursa-pastoris ) of the family Cruciferae (mustard family), indigenous to Europe but now a nearly cosmopolitan weed in temperate regions. It is also called pickpocket, and both the Latin and common names derive from the peculiarly shaped triangular seed pods. A decoction from the plant, containing the alkaloid bursin, has been used medicinally as an antidysenteric, a diuretic, and a febrifuge. Capsella is classified in the division Magnoliophyta, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales, family Cruciferae.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

More on shepherd's-purse from Fact Monster:

  • peppergrass - peppergrass peppergrass, any species of the genus Lepidium, widely distributed peppery-tasting ...
  • mustard - mustard mustard, common name for the Cruciferae, a large family chiefly of herbs of north temperate ...
  • Encyclopedia: Plants - Encyclopeadia articles concerning Plants.

See more Encyclopedia articles on: Plants