Perilla frutescens

Common Names: Shisho, beefsteak plant
Category: Plants
Sub-category: Mint family

Resembles stinging nettles, however it lacks the stinging hairs. Leaves and stems are often a dark purple. Stems are up to 1m tall, erect, purple and 4-angled, with a single median vertical groove on each side of the stem. Leaves are opposite, petiolate, decussate. Petioles to 5cm long, purple, with a very shallow adaxial groove. Blades ovate, serrate, acute, to 10cm long, 8cm broad, sometimes crisped or not, typically green above and purple-green or entirely purple below, mostly glabrous above, pubescent on the veins below, with any punctate glands below (use a lens to see). Lateral veins prominent and expressed below.

Can be found near rich soils, alluvial soils or dry soils along streams, spring branches, gravel bars, roadsides, and railroads.

Primary Flower Color: Pink
Secondary Flower Color: Blue/Purple
Edible Notes: Its leaves are used as foods in Southern China, Japan and Korea and its seeds are used to make edible oil in Korea. Sometimes, the seeds are ground and added to soup for seasoning in Korea. It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years. There are red and green perilla. The red perilla has red leaves and used mostly in fish stews in southern China. The green perilla is more commonly found in Korean cuisine and Japanese cuisine. Koreans make pickled green perilla with red chili powder and soy sauce. Japanese eat sashimi with green perilla.
Warnings: Not known to be dangerous.