IPMP3.0, Oregon State University, Copyright 2000

Biology and Management of Shepherdspurse


Registered Herbicides

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General Description:

  • erect stems grow 3- 18 inches tall from a basal rosette.
  • alternate leaves with lower leaves more deeply lobed than upper
  • upper leaves clasp the stem.
  • small white flowers at the end of long racemes ( flower arrangement along a stem on individual stalks).
  • petals and sepals are arranged in fours.
  • flatttened heart-shaped fruit with 2 cells containing many small, oblong, grooved, red/brown seeds.
  • taproot (may be branched) with secondary fibrous root system.

Life cycle: annual

  • reproduces by seed.
  • seeds germinate early spring, summer, and early fall.
  • hypocotyl (stem below cotyledons) typically has purple coloring.
  • cotyledons are egg-shaped with taper at petiole.
  • young rosettes have variable degree of lobes on leaves, older leaves are more consistently deeply lobed.
  • flowers early spring through September.
  • a single plant may produce over a 1000 long-lived seeds.
  • plants die soon after fruiting.

Habitat/ Crops associated with:

  • widespread in cultivated fields and gardens.
  • associated with wheat, alfalfa, mint, and cultivated vegetable production.
  • also found along roadsides and waste areas.

Herbicide Control Notes:

  • Goal, Sinbar, and Karmex/Direx are effective when applied early. Add Gramoxone to residual herbicides if plants are well established.