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Plant ID: What is this weed looking thing?

 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
12
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This appeared in my hugel bed as a volunteer and I'm curious what it is, as I'm a newbie learning the basics of plant ID.

What is this?


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[Thumbnail for KeyholeGarden_2013-06-17_ (10).JPG]
What might this be?
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
26
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Looks like shepherd's purse to me - Capsella bursa-pastoris If I'm right, it's edible and medicinal - a good weed to have!
 
Jessica Gorton
Posts: 274
Location: Central Maine - Zone 4b/5a
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Upon a bit more study, there are apparently other mustard-family plants that look like shepherd's purse - but they will only have one seed per side of the seedpods, shepherd's purse will have many. Now I need to go check my local variety, and see what I've really got...
 
mitch brant
Posts: 70
Location: Western Pa
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Looks like Field Pennycress, but it could be Perfoliate Pennycress too.
 
S Carreg
Posts: 260
Location: De Cymru (West Wales, UK)
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closely related to shephard's purse but the seed pods are slightly differently shaped. i think that at least for the medicinal uses they are interchangeable - it is used to stop bleeding both externally as a poultice and internally as a tincture (which smells HORRIBLE!!!)
 
Rob Read
Posts: 86
Location: Poplar Hill, Ontario (near London) - Zone 6a
7
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I'm fairly sure this is indeed Field Pennycress - the notch in the circular seed pod is a field mark. In my region, Shepherd's Purse has a heart-shaped seed pod that's smaller. There are several other related small mustards, but I'm fairly confident with that ID - and to my knowledge, all mustards are edible (if not all good tasting) - though I'm happy to be corrected on that.

I like this plant. It loves disturbed soil, and if it's present, even if you mulch, you'll get a bit here and there. The leaves before it goes to seed have a nutty/mustardy taste in salads which I quite like. That taste gets stronger when they go to seed, but in my opinion is still okay. I'm sure you can use it as a cooked green, and can probably eat the tenderest part of the stem when it's growing quickly either raw or steamed. Flowerheads taste good to me too - though a bit strong flavoured. I've had people taste this and love it, and read descriptions that say it tastes awful. Try a small bit to make sure you like it.

In good conditions (full sun, various soil types) it gets very big, and produces many seed pods. In the past, I've gathered a bunch of big plants and hung them to dry, then gathered the seeds out of them. When ground, the dried seeds make a very nice seasoning a bit like black pepper (Pennycress is closely related to Peppergrass, as well as Shepherd's Purse). There's likely not much need to replant seed - it'll be back!

Of course - make sure you're confident with the ID yourself before consuming it.
 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
12
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At the moment, I'd have to agree that it is Field Pennycress indeed.
I'm going to try some tomorrow in my wildfood breakfast.

Thanks all for helping me ID this.
 
Devon Olsen
Posts: 1066
Location: SE Wyoming -zone 4
7
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i'd agree with the previous ID's but ive always reffered to it as poor mans pepper grass (botanically it is obviously not a grass but...) because from my understanding the dried seeds make a decent substitute for black pepper
 
Jason Vath
Posts: 146
Location: Hardiness Zone 6
12
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Ok, Just got done having some with my breakfast. Tried it raw and wow is it potent! Hot & mustardy indeed!
 
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