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a genus of annual and biennial plants of the family Cruciferae. The stem leaves are sessile, entire, and sagittate. The basal leaves are petiolate, entire or pinnatipartite and are in a rosette. The small flowers are white, pink, or yellowish. At the onset of blossoming, the flowers form cymose inflorescences; they subsequently form long racemes. The fruit is a laterally compressed, triangular-obcordate silicle that resembles a purse.

There are from five to seven species distributed in temperate and subtropical regions. Three species are found in the USSR. The shepherd’s purse (C. bursa-pastoris) is a common weed in fields and gardens, near dwellings, along roads, and in waste places and trash heaps. The plant blossoms two or three times from spring to fall. There are spring and winter forms.

The seeds contain a fatty oil, and the foliage contains choline, acetylcholine, and tyramine. Tinctures and liquid extracts that cause contractions of uterine muscles are used to treat uterine atony and uterine bleeding.


Kott, S. A. Sornye rasteniia i bor’ba s nimi, 3rd ed. Moscow, 1961. Atlas lekarstvennykh rastenii SSSR. Moscow, 1962.


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