I found this weed growing in our yard (in western Idaho), this spring. It starts with a green rosette with serrated leaves, and then puts up a tall flower stalk with small white flowers. You can see the fruits on it, too, in the picture. Someone I know thought it was chicory; she ate some leaves; it's not chicory, but, she said it tasted pretty nice. Buttery.

My question is, what is it?

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1 Answer 1


I do not know your flora, but it seems Capsella bursa-pastoris, from Brassicaceae (cabbage/mustard family). Note: there can be more similar species in your region, but usually similar.

You may recognize it with heart-shaped fruits. Note: heart has not the heart-shape, so in past they say it has shape of a shepherd bag (or better flask). You may see many of these plants (and in general of Brassicaceae) in spring.

As you see in Wikipedia (but I got this also independently), you may eat the rosettes. Just this plant is ruderal (as many chicories), and so please consider the soil: it could be contaminated (e.g. if you harvest near roads).

Just a warning: please do no eat plant you do not know: there are many toxic plants (which may seems the normal plants), some are really deadly toxic (see the many deaths which confused Colchicum autumnale as Allium ursinum), or many plants which are toxic if ate on large quantities (but nice to enhance a salad).

  • Don't worry. I like to ID plants before I eat them (and this is on our property). Thanks! Mar 18, 2020 at 11:12
  • If you don't want more of this weed, make sure you deadhead/pull them all before they set seed. Mustard seeds "shatter", sending tons of seeds in all directions. Many mustards will set seed even if they've been pulled up, so dispose of all pulled plants (don't just leave them to dry on the ground).
    – Jurp
    Mar 18, 2020 at 18:28
  • Another thing one has to be careful with in connection to eating shepards' purse is a tendency to get white rust and/ or downy mildew.
    – susanabra
    Mar 22, 2020 at 7:48

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