Capsella bursa-pastoris 薺菜, 牧人的錢包 (Cherry_Chow)
Updated on 14/04/2020

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Capsella bursa-pastoris is an herb originated from the eastern Mediterranean. It belongs to family Cruciferae. It is also called Shephard’s Purse due to its shape of fruit, silicle, resembling the purse of ancient shepherds.

It spread as weed around the world while especially adapted to cultivated soil. It prefers sunny and dry conditions, and being tolerate to slightly acidic soil (pH5-8). It also shows ability in removing salt in salty or marsh land.

Its leaves are edible raw or cooked as salad, while seeds are also edible. It is not used in herbalism often, yet a widely used domestic remedy for treating both internal and external bleeding, diarrhea.

Under hydration its seeds are covered with mucilage, and possible adaptations of such are suggested:
1. The mucilage can help water retention to provide a more stable condition for seed germination.
2. Protocarnivory, the mucilage can attract nematodes to consume the seed. The seed then release toxins and kill the nematodes to allow more nutrients for its growth.

Are there any other plants utilizing protocarnivory to promote their early growth? Are the seeds safe enough for human consumption?

Roberts, H. R., Warren, J. M., & Provan, J. (2018). Evidence for facultative protocarnivory in Capsella bursa-pastoris seeds. Scientific reports, 8(1), 10120.
by IP_ChristyYinTing (Student) at 2020-05-04 21:50:10
Capsella bursa-pastoris belongs to the family of Brassicaceae. They are simple fruits ad are dehiscent longitudinally, in which valves of the pericarp would split open upon maturity, with seeds attached to the central portion. It is a type of silicle, as the length of the central partition of the bicarpellate ovary is less than twice as the width.

As mentioned by the comment above, the seeds of the species possess a mucilaginous epidermis. Under hydration, the mucilaginous epidermis allows the seed to be attached to animals for long-distanced dispersion. Since it could be found on any arable land in a lot of temperate regions, even non-cultivated areas or roadsides, the seeds could also be carried away for dispersal by transport vehicles and be brought far away from its original position.

Since the species is highly adaptable and could grow in almost all environment, what are the invasive effects on native species when it is brought to a new environment by the seed dispersers?

by LAM_SaiChak (Student) at 2020-05-05 01:56:37


Popular Tag

petal , sepal , pileus , suspensor , stipe , Labellum , columella , sporangium , pistil , zygosporangium