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Perilla frutescens - (L.)Britton.

Common Name Shiso, Beefsteakplant, Spreading Beefsteak Plant
Family Lamiaceae or Labiatae
USDA hardiness 7-10
Known Hazards There have been cases of toxicity, including dermatitis, pulmonary oedema, respiratory distress and even death following ingestion by cattle and horses[274].
Habitats Hills and mountains of central and southern Japan[58]. Sunny and fertile situations in China[147].
Range E. Asia - China, Japan, India.
Edibility Rating    (4 of 5)
Other Uses    (2 of 5)
Weed Potential Yes
Medicinal Rating    (3 of 5)
Care (info)
Frost Hardy Moist Soil Full sun
Perilla frutescens Shiso, Beefsteakplant, Spreading Beefsteak Plant

Perilla frutescens Shiso, Beefsteakplant, Spreading Beefsteak Plant


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Bloom Color: White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late summer, Mid summer. Form: Upright or erect.

Physical Characteristics

 icon of manicon of flower
Perilla frutescens is a ANNUAL/PERENNIAL growing to 0.6 m (2ft) by 0.3 m (1ft in) at a fast rate.
See above for USDA hardiness. It is hardy to UK zone 8 and is frost tender. It is in flower from July to August. The species is hermaphrodite (has both male and female organs).
Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: mildly acid, neutral and basic (mildly alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers moist soil.

UK Hardiness Map US Hardiness Map


P. ocimoides. L.

Plant Habitats

 Cultivated Beds;

Edible Uses

Edible Parts: Flowers  Leaves  Oil  Oil  Seed
Edible Uses: Colouring  Condiment  Oil  Oil

Edible young leaves and seedlings - raw or cooked[46, 116, 178, 183]. The flavour is strange to western palates at first, some people detecting cinnamon, others coriander or citrus[206]. Seedlings are added to salads, older leaves are used as a garnish or flavouring[206]. Older leaves are also salted and used as a condiment for tofu and as a garnish for tempura[183]. Leaves from purple cultivars are used to colour preserved fruits[238]. The leaves can also be dried for later use[206]. The leaves contain about 3.1% protein, 0.8% fat, 4.1% carbohydrate, 1.1% ash[179]. Immature flower clusters are used as a garnish for soups and chilled tofu[183]. Older flower clusters are fried and eaten[183]. The seeds are preserved in salt or are used as a spice in pickles, tempura and miso[183, 206]. They are one of the ingredients in 'Shichimi' or 'seven spice' mixture[206]. The seed can also be eaten cooked[105, 178]. Seeds from purple-leafed forms of the plant are preferred for culinary use[238]. The seed contains about 21.5% protein, 43.4% fat, 11.3% carbohydrate, 4.4% ash[179]. An edible drying oil is obtained from the seed[46, 171, 183, 272]. It is rich in linolenic acid[57]. The plant yields an essential oil which is used as a food flavouring in candies and sauces[183].

References   More on Edible Uses

Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.
Antiasthmatic  Antibacterial  Antidote  Antipyretic  Antiseptic  Antispasmodic  Antitussive  Aromatic  
Carminative  Diaphoretic  Emollient  Expectorant  Pectoral  Stomachic  Tonic

The leaves, stems and seeds of shiso are often used in Oriental medicine. It is a pungent, aromatic, warming herb that is antibacterial, antidote, antipyretic, antiseptic, antispasmodic, antitussive, aromatic, carminative, diaphoretic, emollient, expectorant, pectoral, stomachic and tonic[116, 147, 174, 176, 218, 238]. The leaves are used in the treatment of colds, chest stuffiness, vomiting, abdominal pain etc[176]. The juice of the leaves is applied to cuts and wounds[272]. The seed is antiasthmatic, antitussive, emollient and expectorant[176]. It is used internally in the treatment of asthma, colds and chills, nausea, abdominal pain, food poisoning and allergic reactions (especially from seafood), bronchitis and constipation[218, 238]. The stems are a traditional Chinese remedy for morning sickness[238].]. This herb should be avoided by pregnant women[222].

References   More on Medicinal Uses

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Other Uses

Essential  Oil  Oil

A drying oil obtained from the seed is used in making paints, varnishes, water proofing etc[46, 57, 105, 171, 238]. The plant yields 0.3 - 1.3% essential oil, which contains 20% citral[240]. It is used as a food flavouring and in dental products[238]. Attractive leaves.

Special Uses

Food Forest  Scented Plants

References   More on Other Uses

Cultivation details

Landscape Uses:Border, Container, Specimen. Prefers a light soil[1, 206]. Requires a rich well-drained moisture-retentive soil in full sun[200]. Plants require a well-drained soil but do not need particularly fertile soil[206]. Prefers an acid soil with a pH between 5.5 and 6[206]. The plant is not frost hardy and requires temperatures above 18°c if it is to grow well[206]. The plant requires short days in order to flower[206]. Shiso is often cultivated in the Orient as a food flavouring. There are some named varieties, those with purple leaves being preferred for seed production[183, 206, 238]. Shiso is also cultivated for the oil obtained from its seed[50, 171]. It is sometimes used in sub-tropical bedding schemes in Britain[1]. Special Features:Attractive foliage, Invasive, Naturalizing. In garden design, as well as the above-ground architecture of a plant, root structure considerations help in choosing plants that work together for their optimal soil requirements including nutrients and water. The root pattern is flat with shallow roots spreading near the soil surface [2-1].

References   Carbon Farming Information and Carbon Sequestration Information

Temperature Converter

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Plant Propagation

Surface-sow or only lightly cover the seed in mid spring in a greenhouse. The seed germinates best at 20°c, though it also succeeds at slightly lower temperatures[206]. Germination is usually quick, prick out the seedlings into trays or individual pots when they are large enough to handle and plant them out into their permanent positions in early summer[200, K]. Give the plants some protection such as a cloche until they are growing away well. The seed has a short viability and should be used when less than a year old[206].

Other Names

If available other names are mentioned here

Native Range

TEMPERATE ASIA: China (Fujian Sheng, Guangdong Sheng, Guangxi Zhuangzu Zizhiqu, Guizhou Sheng, Hebei Sheng, Hubei Sheng, Jiangsu Sheng, Jiangxi Sheng, Shanxi Sheng, Sichuan Sheng, Xizang Zizhiqu, Yunnan Sheng, Zhejiang Sheng), Korea, Japan (Honshu, Kyushu, Shikoku), Taiwan TROPICAL ASIA: Bhutan, India (north), Nepal, Pakistan, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam

Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :

Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameHabitHeightHardinessGrowthSoilShadeMoistureEdibleMedicinalOther
Perilla frutescens nankinensisPurple ShisoAnnual/Perennial0.6 -  LMNM432

Growth: S = slow M = medium F = fast. Soil: L = light (sandy) M = medium H = heavy (clay). pH: A = acid N = neutral B = basic (alkaline). Shade: F = full shade S = semi-shade N = no shade. Moisture: D = dry M = Moist We = wet Wa = water.


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