Stems: branching. Leaves: mostly runcinate-pinnatifid, cauline, lanceolate, auricled at base. Flowers: small, white, in long loose racemes; petals four; sepals four. Fruit: pods cuneate-triangular, truncate above; seeds ten or twelve in each cell. Not indigenous.
This common little white-flowered plant grows all over the world in temperate zones and at various altitudes. Its tiny heart-shaped seed-purses have amused the children of many countries. It is closely related to Candytuft, to which it bears a strong resemblance. Sir Joseph Hooker once stated that in his opinion of all the weeds which cling to the skirts of husbandry, Shepherd's Purse would be the first to disappear if the soil were suddenly to be left untilled and deserted by man and beast. The quaint name of "Pickpocket" frequently applied to this plant betokens the suspicion that it steals the nutriment the farmer distributes to his crops. Shepherd's Purse has no scent or honey, and it fertilizes itself. This is an introduced plant.