Shepherd's Purse
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Shepherd's Purse
ative Photo: Thingnam Girija
Common name: Shepherd's Purse, Cocowort, Blind weed • Tangkhul: Chamtruk • Nepali: चम्सुरे झार Chamure Jhaar, चाल्ने Chaalne, तोरी घाँस Toree Ghaans • Manipuri: ꯆꯟꯇ꯭ꯔꯨꯛ Chantruk
Botanical name: Capsella bursa-pastoris    Family: Brassicaceae (Mustard family)

Shepherd's Purse is originally from Europe, but has become very common in many parts of the world. The species name bursa-pastoris mean purse of the shepherd. This name refers to the fruit-capsule in the shape of a triangle, attached to slender stalk from its pointy end, with a notch on the top. Shepherd's Purse grows in gardens, fields, waste grounds, and embankments with soils that are not too dry and that provide enough sunshine. This is rather a small plant, growing to 6-20 cm high. The basal leaves are lanceolate and dentate. The white flowers are arranged in loose racemes. Flowers are radially symmetrical with four petals. The seeds of this plant give off a viscous compound when moistened. Aquatic insects stick to it and eventually die. This can be used as a mosquito control method, killing off the mosquito larvae, and makes it a borderline carnivorous plant. The seeds, leaves, and root of this plant are edible. In China, it is commercially grown for consumption. Flowering: December-January.
Medicinal uses: In Manipur, it has been used to stop bleeding from internal organs.

Identification credit: Tabish Photographed in Lahaul, Himachal Pradesh & Shanti Van, Delhi.

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