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Shiso

Perilla frutescens var. crispa

Description:

A large swath of these waist- to shoulder-high plants is growing in an unused hayfield. They have a strong, pleasant anise-like scent (smell like licorice). In the fall when they die back, the seeds dry and rattle in their casings when you brush past.

Habitat:

Old hayfield (not in use)

1 Species ID Suggestions

Shiso
Perilla frutescens var. crispa


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4 Comments

smcrenshaw
smcrenshaw 8 years ago

Excellent, Chester. Looks like you are right.
I'm learning from you every time you ID one of my finds. Thanks for taking the time to cultivate us amateur nature enthusiasts.

chesterbperry
chesterbperry 8 years ago

I am confident with my ID, there are multiple cultivars of shiso with different flavor profiles. The green form is spicier with an aroma more of cinnamon, while the red form has the anise scent you observed. This plant has traits of both those forms, the obvious leaves of the green form and the purple flowers of the red form. So no surprise it possesses the aroma of the of the red. I agree it is not "true" shiso, but it is a combination of two or more formae, a taxa below variety, which does not alter the higher classification. When cultivated plants escape, they rarely retain all the traits we breed into them, and tend to get back to their roots. As you can see by the link provided, the variety I suggest is recognized to be in your area by the USDA. http://plants.usda.gov/java/profile?symb...

smcrenshaw
smcrenshaw 8 years ago

Good call, Chester. These definitely do appear to be Perilla frutescens, though I'm not convinced that Crispa is the correct variety.
When I looked into your suggestion, the information suggested that the variety gone feral in N. America is different and has deviated in flavor and usefulness. Not true Shiso. The scent I experienced certainly seemed to vary from the notes flavor of true Shiso.
Perhaps some field testing will clear up the question... Thoughts?
Thank you both for your help. I believe we are getting much closer on this one.

chesterbperry
chesterbperry 8 years ago

All of the above ground parts are edible, and used extensively in Asian cuisine.

smcrenshaw
Spotted by
smcrenshaw

Kentucky, USA

Spotted on Sep 15, 2012
Submitted on Oct 13, 2012

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