LEAFLETS TO FARMERS.
Oxford Observer, Volume VIII, 20 February 1897, Page 4
LEAFLETS TO FARMERS.
Shepherd's Purse, Pickpocket Gapsela bursa-pastoris). By T. B. Kirlc.
This is an annual plant,; an introduction from Europe. Ifc grows from a few inches up to 2ft. m height ; the flowers are small and white, arranged m little clusters, and may be seen throughout the summer. The flattish, heart-shaped seed-case 3 are very striking, and ace supposed to bear a resemblance to an old-fashioned rustic purse; hence the appellation of "Shepherd's Purse." It has, however, another common name, evidently given by some unsentimental farmer, who, owing to the prevalence and luxuriance of the weed, described it as "Pickpocket," a designation which might m this colony well be appliad to a large number of other plants. The, leaves are of two forms : those of the root are spreading and pinnatified ; those of the stem are narrow and clasping, with projecting ears ; all the margins are toothed. The Shepherd's Purse is now found m most agricultural couutries. It is abundant both m cultivated land and m pastures, also by the wayside. Its seeds may frequently be detected m samples of agricultural seeds submitted for examination. On cultivated land it may be kept m check by the sacrifices, or similar implements/ In pastures, especially on dairy farmd; it. fihould, if plentiful, be mowed before seeding,; the plant being annual, this treatment will soon result m its. suppression. In g~ass lands it is particularly objectionable, for not only does it take the place of more useful plants, either by robbing them of nourishment or by nursing funguous diseases through their hybernating state. Like many other plants which have gone out of favour and are now regarded as naught but weeds, the Shepherd's Pur?e was m olden days supposed to possess medical properties of value m certain internal complaints — blood-spitting, bleeding at the nose, &c. When grown on rich soil it was, and is still, used m some parts of North America, China, and other countries as a green vegetable. *