SHEPHERD'S PURSE MOTHER'S HEART





(Bursa Bursa-pastoris; Capsella Bursa-pastoris of Gray)

Mustard family



Flowers - Small, white, in a long loose raceme, followed by

triangular and notched (somewhat heart-shaped) pods, the valves

boat-shaped and keeled. Sepals and petals 4; stamens 6; 1 pistil.

Stem: 6 to 18 in. high, from a deep root. Leaves: Forming a

rosette at base, 2 to 5 in. long, more or less cut (pinnatifid),

a few pointed, arrow-shaped leaves also scattered along stem and

partly clasping it.

Preferred Habitat - Fields, roadsides, waste places.

Flowering Season - Almost throughout the year.

Distribution - Over nearly all parts of the earth.



>From Europe this little low plant found its way, to become the

commonest of our weeds, so completing its march around the globe.

At a glance one knows it to be related to the alyssum and

candy-tuft of our gardens, albeit a poor relation in spite of its

vaunted purses - the tiny, heart-shaped seed-pods that so rapidly

succeed the flowers. What is the secret of its successful march

over the face of the earth? Like the equally triumphant

chickweed, it is easily satisfied with unoccupied wasteland, it

avoids the fiercest competition for insect trade by prolonging

its season of bloom far beyond that of any native flower, for

there is not a month in the year when one may not find it even in

New England in sheltered places. Having vanquished in the fiercer

struggle for survival in the Old World, it finds life here one

long holiday; and finally, by clustering a large number of

relatively small flowers together, it attracts the insects that

this method of arrangement pleases best, the flies (Syrphidae and

Muscidae) which cross-fertilize it in fine weather, transferring

enough pollen from plant to plant to save the species from

degeneracy through close inbreeding. However, the long stamens

standing on a level with the stigma are well calculated to

self-pollenize the flowers, the flies failing them.





SHEEPLAUREL, LAMBKILL, WICKY, CALFKILL, SHEEPPOISON SHOOTING STAR AMERICAN COWSLIP PRIDE OF OHIO facebooktwittergoogle_plusredditpinterestlinkedinmail

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