Thursday, February 9, 2012

botanical valentines: capsella

Shepherd's purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris)
original photo By Beentree via Wikimedia Commons
edits mine
...
By H. Zell via Wikimedia Commons
Today's valentine is for those who pay attention to small details, who appreciate the minute. Shepherd's purse produces tiny heart-shaped fruits all along the flowering stem as the flowers fade and the seeds begin to mature.

Shepherd's purse is a common edible weed, not native (believed to have arrived with Columbus), but used in America as a pot herb and for medicine by the earliest European settlers.  It is a member of the mustard family (Brassicaceae), and has its familiar sharp taste.

Enjoy these peppery seed pods raw on a salad and sprinkle them into your soup.  Or just marvel at the fine form of your miniature botanical valentines.

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There is interesting info about Capsella bursa-pastoris at kindomPlantae.net.

Closeups and botanical specifics at Missouriplants.com (the photos are from NC!)