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This is growing in the satoyamas all around and stray ones in our garden and planters as well. I posted about this plant last spring but found out a few more interesting facts.

What makes this plant so special is its seed capsule – which is the heart-shaped fruit. The seeds of this plant give off a viscous compound when moistened. Aquatic insects stick to it and eventually die. So this can be used as a mosquito control to kill off the mosquito larvae. It is a borderline carnivorous plant.

Another interesting fact: the seeds, the basal rosette leaves and root of the plant are edible. In China, it is grown to be eaten – stir-fried Shepherd’s Purse leaves is a delicacy there, and I think here too though we don’t eat it at home. Used as a tea or as poultice, it is supposed to be used to stop bleeding too… maybe I should try it for my nose-bleeds.

Small birds are fond of the seeds.

Other names: Capsella Bursa-pastoris. In Japanese – nazuna (ナズナ) or shamisengusa (literally, the Shamisen plant 三味線草 【しゃみせんぐさ】)Shepherd’s Bag. Shepherd’s Scrip. Shepherd’s Sprout. Lady’s Purse. Witches’ Pouches. Rattle Pouches. Case-weed. Pick-Pocket. Pick-Purse. Blindweed. Pepper-and-Salt. Poor Man’s Parmacettie. Sanguinary. Mother’s Heart. Clappedepouch (Irish). (French) Bourse de pasteur. (German) Hirtentasche.

It is found all over the world, probably of European or West Asiatic origin.


A fabulous site with lots of info and drawings and recipes on the plant is at this link.


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