DESCRIPTION: Shepherdís purse begins with a basal rosette (circle of bottom leaves) of deeply toothed leaves up to 9 inches across, broader toward the tip, like the dandelionís, but without white, milky sap, and with more blunt teeth pointing outward, not toward the leafís base. The slender, white taproot contrasts with dandelionís stout, beige one.
The little-branched, slender, erect flower stalk grows up to 2‡ feet tall in mid-spring, with smaller, alternate (singly configured), stalkless leaves clasping the stem with 2 small, pointed lobes.
The tiny, white, 4-petaled flowers, whose petals form a cross, like related mustards, alternate around the tip of the stalk.
The flowers give way to long-stemmed, flattened, triangular, 2-parted seedpods º inch long that supposedly resemble the purses of ancient shepherds. If you ever run into an ancient shepherd while collecting shepherdís purse, let me know if itís true. Although shepherdís purse has no poisonous look-alikes, be sure that the ancient shepherd doesnít view your botanical studies of his purse as the work of a pickpocket or crook, and bop you one on the noggin with the crook of his staff!