Nature's Restaurant:

Fields, Forests & Wetlands Foods of Eastern North America

A Complete Wild Food Guide

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Season: Spring to Fall

Urban, Rural or Both: Both - disturbed land

For the edible greens of Shepherd's Purse, see the Shepherd's Purse Greens page.

For the edible seeds of Shepherd's Purse, see the Shepherd's Purse seeds page.

Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) is a wild food in North America, but in Asia it is grown as a food crop. It is grown and used in Korea as a root vegetable. Not bad at all, you don't get a lot per root, but since it is common, if you find a few, and the soil is light and loamy, it can be worth the effort. The taste is not particularly great, but certainly nothing bad about it. Good for a soup ingredient.

Go here to the Leaves and Greens section for the entry on Shepherd's Purse for a detailed description of the plant and pictures.

Growing this plant in your home garden:

Easy with this one. Find one with brown (mature) seed pods, take them home, break (rub between hands) over the soil where you want them, tamp the area down, and put down a very fine layer of mulch. Done. Each time you see mature seed heads on plants in your garden, just give the mature seed heads a good rub with both hands, and very shortly you will have new ones with fresh greens.

For detailed growing instructions, go to my Wild Foods Home Garden website Shepherds Purse page.


Shepherd's Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.

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Important Notes when Identifying
Rules & Cautions
Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching

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