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Vascular Plants of California
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Capsella bursa-pastoris

Higher Taxonomy
Family: Brassicaceae (Cruciferae)View DescriptionDichotomous Key
Habit: Annual to shrub; sap pungent, watery. Leaf: generally simple, alternate; generally both basal, cauline; stipules 0. Inflorescence: generally raceme, generally not bracted. Flower: bisexual, generally radial; sepals 4, generally free; petals (0)4, forming a cross, generally white or yellow to purple; stamens generally 6 (2 or 4), 4 long, 2 short (3 pairs of unequal length); ovary 1, superior, generally 2-chambered with septum connecting 2 parietal placentas; style 1, stigma entire or 2-lobed. Fruit: capsule, generally 2-valved, "silique" (length >= 3 × width) or "silicle" (length < 3 × width), dehiscent by 2 valves or indehiscent, cylindric or flat parallel or perpendicular to septum, segmented or not. Seed: 1--many, in 1 or 2 rows per chamber, winged or wingless; embryo strongly curved.
Genera In Family: +- 330 genera, 3780 species: worldwide, especially temperate. Note: Highest diversity in Mediterranean area, mountains of southwestern Asia, adjacent central Asia, western North America; some Brassica species are oil or vegetable crops; Arabidopsis thaliana used in experimental molecular biology; many species are ornamentals, weeds. Aurinia saxatilis (L.) Desvaux in cultivation only. Aubrieta occasional waif in central NCoR, Carrichtera annua (L.) DC. in SCo, Iberis sempervirens L., Iberis umbellata L. in PR, Teesdalia coronopifolia (Bergeret) Thell., Teesdalia nudicaulis (L.) W.T. Aiton in southern NCoRO, CCo. Cardaria, Coronopus moved to Lepidium; Caulostramina to Hesperidanthus; Guillenia to Caulanthus; Heterodraba to Athysanus; California taxa of Lesquerella to Physaria; Malcolmia africana to Strigosella.
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz, except as noted
Scientific Editor: Douglas H. Goldman, Bruce G. Baldwin.
Genus: CapsellaView Description 

Habit: Annual, biennial; hairs sessile, stellate, occasionally also simple. Leaf: basal rosetted, petioled, pinnately lobed to dentate or entire; cauline sessile, sagittate to basally lobed or clasping. Inflorescence: elongated. Flower: sepals erect to ascending, base sac-like; petals obovate to spoon-shaped, white or +- pink. Fruit: silicle, obtriangular-obcordate, dehiscent, unsegmented, flat perpendicular to septum; valves veined; stigma entire. Seed: (10)20--40, in 2 rows per chamber, wingless.
Etymology: (Latin: little box resembling a medieval wallet or purse)
eFlora Treatment Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Capsella bursa-pastoris (L.) Medik.
Habit: Stellate hairs 3--5-rayed, simple hairs generally at plant base. Stem: erect, simple or branched distally, (0.5)1--5(7) dm. Leaf: basal 3--6 cm, oblanceolate, +- entire to pinnately lobed or dissected; cauline 1--5.5(8) cm, oblong, linear to lanceolate. Flower: sepals 1.5--2 mm; petals (1.5)2--4(5) mm, obovate, white (pink). Fruit: (3)4--9(10) mm, base wedge-shaped, tip notched or not, glabrous; pedicel spreading to ascending, (3)5--15(20) mm, slender. Chromosomes: 2n=32.
Ecology: Disturbed areas; Elevation: < 2800 m. Bioregional Distribution: CA; Distribution Outside California: North America; native to Eurasia. Flowering Time: Jan--Oct
Jepson eFlora Author: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz
Index of California Plant Names (ICPN; linked via the Jepson Online Interchange)

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Botanical illustration including Capsella bursa-pastoris

botanical illustration including Capsella bursa-pastoris

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Citation for this treatment: Ihsan A. Al-Shehbaz 2012, Capsella bursa-pastoris, in Jepson Flora Project (eds.) Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Citation for the whole project: Jepson Flora Project (eds.) 2024, Jepson eFlora,, accessed on May 23, 2024.

Capsella bursa-pastoris
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©2007 Carol W. Witham
Capsella bursa-pastoris
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©2008 Keir Morse
Capsella bursa-pastoris
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©2008 Keir Morse
Capsella bursa-pastoris
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©2019 Neal Kramer
Capsella bursa-pastoris
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©2008 Steve Matson

More photos of Capsella bursa-pastoris
in CalPhotos

Geographic subdivisions for Capsella bursa-pastoris:
1. You can change the display of the base map layer control box in the upper right-hand corner.
2. County and Jepson Region polygons can be turned off and on using the check boxes.
map of distribution 1
(Note: any qualifiers in the taxon distribution description, such as 'northern', 'southern', 'adjacent' etc., are not reflected in the map above, and in some cases indication of a taxon in a subdivision is based on a single collection or author-verified occurence).


Data provided by the participants of the  Consortium of California Herbaria.
View all CCH records
All markers link to CCH specimen records. The original determination is shown in the popup window.
Blue markers indicate specimens that map to one of the expected Jepson geographic subdivisions (see left map). Purple markers indicate specimens collected from a garden, greenhouse, or other non-wild location.
Yellow markers indicate records that may provide evidence for eFlora range revision or may have georeferencing or identification issues.

CCH collections by month

Duplicates counted once; synonyms included.
Species do not include records of infraspecific taxa, if there are more than 1 infraspecific taxon in CA.
Blue line denotes eFlora flowering time (fruiting time in some monocot genera).