Friday, June 27, 2014
Let's revisit this herb. Perilla or Shiso. The following information is from the following link: http://www.altnature.com/gallery/perilla.htm
Another informative source is: http://www.naturalmedicinalherbs.net/herbs/p/perilla-frutescens=shiso.php
Photo courtesy Jacki Brewer
(I have this plant in my garden and I love it. I think it smells good. It does come up here and there but I do not find it invasive as the article describes.
It is easily pulled out. Evasive plants I find set themselves in very firm or have spreading under ground rhizomes. - Jacki Brewer)
Perilla frutescens Other Names: Ao Shiso, Beefsteak plant, Ji Soo, Perilla, Purple Perilla, Shiso, Wild basil, Wild red basil, Chinese basil, Purple mint, Rattlesnake weed, Summer coleus
Perilla smells funny, which is no wonder since you will usually find it in cow pastures. Rub leaves on your skin and clothes on hikes to repel ticks. Also a good companion plant for tomatoes. Harvest before seeds form, very invasive if allowed to seed.
Habitat Annual herb of the mint family native to E. Asia, it is a traditional crop of China, India, Japan, Korea, Thailand, and other Asian countries. Perilla was brought to the United States in the late 1800s by Asian immigrants. It has quickly naturalized and become a common weed of pastures and roadsides in the southeastern United States. Found growing in sunny open fields, roadsides, waste places and open woodlands. Cultivation is very easy Perilla prefers light to medium moist well-drained and rich soil in full sun. Perilla is a very attractive plant for the garden and attracts butterflies. It’s deep purple stems and purple to red tinted leaves last all summer and fall. It is a very aromatic plant, with a strong minty smell. Growing up to 4 feet tall when in bloom, the stems are square, reddish-purple and branching. The leaves are large, up to 6 in. in diameter, petioled, opposite, ovate and serrate, edges ruffled or curly, dark green tinted red to purple (especially on the underside) and hairy. Sometimes the leaves are so large and red that they remind one of a slice of raw beef, hence the name beefsteak plant. The flower spikes are long, up to 10 in. and born in the leaf axils. Flowers are small about 1/4-inch long and tubular, pink to lavender and numerous. After blooming from July to October, they leave their calyx on the spike to cover the seed pod, shake the dry seed stalks and it rattles like a rattlesnake. That's how the plant got one of its common names (rattlesnake weed). Perilla is often confused with purple Basil and used for the same purposes. Gather the edible tender leaves from the plant tops anytime. Gather entire plant in bloom and dry for later use.
Read more: PERILLA / SHISO