In the dooryards of Athens, in the villages of France, in the fields along the Rhine, in the meadows of England, in the cabbage fields of Holland, the shepherd's purse for centuries has come up each year and blossomed and fruited. In Greece, in France, in Germany, in England, in Holland, in most European countries, the young basal leaves of shepherd's purse have been gathered and cooked as greens. Folk for centuries have eaten it with relish.
Capsella bursa-pastoris ( L.) Medic.
April. Lawns, gardens.
From its European origin, shepherd's purse has traveled all over the world until it is nearly cosmopolitan. It was taken in shipments of goods and foodstuffs to far corners of the world, seeded itself, went along wherever men went, until today it is an important item in conjunction with man and his habitations, hi- fields, pastures, and roadsides. When spring comes, the tiny white flowers at the tip of the thin stem are one of the earliest blossoms to conic into bloom. To many a city child, the flowers of shepherd's purse and dandelions, picked from some meager lawn or vacant lot. constitute hi- entire knowledge of the flowering spring. In themselves, the tiny white flowers are neat little things, white with four small petals, each flower arranged in dignity upon a thin little stem at angles from the rest of the stem. The -talk begins to bloom from the bottom to the top, and all along the way stand out the seeds when the flowers arc gone. The pods are thin, green, sharply heart-shaped, peppery like the fruit of peppergrass.