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Shepherd's Purse plant belongs to the family of
A) Cruciferae
B) Malvaceae
C) Solanaceae
D) Leguminosae

Last updated date: 25th Jun 2024
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Hint: Plants can be classified in many ways; the layman’s being according to whether they are shrubs, grassy, woody, and herbaceous. Scientifically, this is more detailed and includes the kind of fruit, the leaf pattern, cotyledons, and so on.

Complete Answer:
- Originating from the Mediterranean region, the Shepherd’s Purse or Capsella bursa-pastoris has spread worldwide, and is now a common weed in many parts on the globe. This plant gets its name from the kind of fruits that it has. The flowers have four small white petals, and the fruit is flat and heart shaped, arising on the stalks of the inflorescence. It belongs to the same family as mustard plants.
- Mustard plants belong to the family Brassicaceae. They typically have simple fruit, four-petalled flowers, and a bicarpellate gynoecium and are herbaceous. Brassicaceae are also classified as Cruciferae. Shepherd’s purse belongs to this family, thus option A is the correct answer.
- Members of Malvaceae have a capsule fruit or schizocarp, and the stamen filaments grouped together into a column. These include the hibiscus plant. Shepherd’s Purse does not have these features. Option B is incorrect.
- Solanaceae plants include the potato, and the poisonous nightshade. They characteristically have floral whorls in five: five petals, anthers, etc. Option C is incorrect.
- The leguminosae include members of the bean family and peas. Their fruit are very distinct, growing in pods with several seeds in one pod. Option D is incorrect.

Hence the correct answer is A.

Note: Though considered a weed, the Shepherd’s purse has considerable applications in traditional medicine. It can be used to treat headache, vomiting, and diarrhoea; and has also been used to treat cardiac ailments like low blood pressure.