shepherd's-purse


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shepherd's-purse,

annual herb (Capsella bursa-pastoris) of the family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae; mustardmustard,
common name for the Cruciferae, or Brassicaceae, a large family chiefly of herbs of north temperate regions. The easily distinguished flowers of the Cruciferae have four petals arranged diagonally ("cruciform") and alternating with the four sepals.
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 family), indigenous to Europe but now a nearly cosmopolitan weed in temperate regions. It is also called pickpocket, and both the Latin and common names derive from the peculiarly shaped triangular seed pods. A decoction from the plant, containing the alkaloid bursin, has been used medicinally as an antidysenteric, a diuretic, and a febrifuge. Capsella is classified in the division MagnoliophytaMagnoliophyta
, division of the plant kingdom consisting of those organisms commonly called the flowering plants, or angiosperms. The angiosperms have leaves, stems, and roots, and vascular, or conducting, tissue (xylem and phloem).
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, class Magnoliopsida, order Capparales (or Brassicales), family Cruciferae (or Brassicaceae).