Photo Credit
Photo courtesy of Shannon Trimboli.

Beefsteak plant

Scientific name
Perilla frutescens
Also Known As
Chinese basil, Perilla mint, Wild basil
Plant Family
Plant Group
Beefsteak plant is in the mint family and is native to Asia. It was most likely brought to the U.S. as a garden plant, but has turned into an invasive species. It blooms in the fall and has leaves that can vary from green to a deep reddish-purple.
Identification Hints

Beefsteak plant is in the mint family. This herbaceous (not woody) plant is notable because of its pubescence (hair). The stems are covered with dense white hairs and the outside and inside of the flowers are also hairy. Leaves are green to deep reddish-purple, oval shaped, with a pointed tip and are toothed (serrate) around the edges. Like other mints, the stems are square (4-sided) and the leaves are opposite along the stems. Beefsteak plant flowers are pinkish-white and 2-lipped, and many flowers occur along a stalk. They bloom in the fall. The fruit are brownish capsules that split open to reveal seeds when ripe.

Did You Know?

Beefsteak plant is native to Asia and was most likely brought to the U.S. as a garden plant, but has turned into an invasive species, especially in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It is used in Japanese cuisine and is commonly referred to as shiso. According to the National Park Service, Beefsteak plant is often found along riparian areas, roadsides, forest edges and in fields.

States
AL, AR, CT, DE, FL, GA, IA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MA, MD, MI, MN, MO, MS, NC, NE, NJ, NY, OH, OK, PA, SC, TN, TX, VA, WA, WI, WV