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Perilla frutescens
Perilla frutescens

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Zone
Zones A1-A3, 1-45, H1, H2
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular Water
Moderate

Perilla frutescens

Shiso
Lamiaceae (Labiatae)
Annuals, Herbs

Native from the Himalayas to eastern Asia. Sturdy, leafy warm-weather plant grows very quickly to 2–3 ft. tall and 1 ft. wide. Broadly ovate, deeply toothed leaves reach 5 in. long. The kind most commonly seen has bronzy or purple leaves that look much like those of coleus. Fancy Fringe strain has deeply cut and fringed leaves in dark bronzy purple. Shiso makes an attractive addition to summer borders, but various parts of the plant are also edible. Use leaves as a vegetable or flavoring (they taste something like mint, something like cinnamon); fry the long, thin clusters of flower buds in tempura batter and serve as a vegetable. In Asia, the seeds are pressed for edible oil. Extremely easy to grow; self-sows freely.

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