lisa m. rose

~wildly crafted~

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Taking time to do some side-by-side comparison of Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastorsis) to Pennycress (Thlaspi arvense).  Differences are very apparent in these two mustard-family relatives.  

I originally believed the larger-Pennycress to be a variety of Capsella (very easy to mistake. However, after closer inspection by clarification from Henriette Kress, I see how these two plants are quite different.  

Regarding their differences Kress pointed out to me:

  • The taste: pennycresses have a hint of onion if you chew them. Capsella tastes of cabbage.
  • The seed pods: pennycresses’ pods are round with a raised center; sometimes they’re also cupped (instead of being flat). 
  • Capsella is straight-edged, flat, and uniformly thick.
  • The taste: pennycresses have a hint of onion if you chew them. Capsella tastes of cabbage.
  • The seed pods: pennycresses’ pods are round with a raised center; sometimes they’re also cupped (instead of being flat). Capsella is straight-edged, flat, and uniformly thick.

In setting them side-by-side, I can note the differences in seed-pod appearance. I also note the different tastes — The Capsella *does* taste like cabbage, or the leaf of broccoli and the Pennycress is bright green garlic/oniony flavor - almost similar to garlic mustard (also in the same family).  

Steve Brill has good photos of the Shepherd’s Purse  for those of you wanting better clarification on seed pod/basal rosette ID… Use of Shepherd’s Purse is quite documented by midwives and herbalists for it’s use as an astringent and hemorrhage - particularly post-partum.

Great Lakes Herbalist Jim McDonald discusses an interesting case of its use with uterine fibroids as an astringent for heavy bleeding and tone of the uterine tissues in combination with Yarrow and Trillium. 

Am now looking for more common use of the Pennycress. Anyone? 

Filed under shepherd's purse pennycress

  1. burdockandrose posted this