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Answer to Another mystery plant

  • Subject: [cg] Answer to Another mystery plant
  • From: "Sharon Gordon" gordonse@one.net
  • Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2003 10:06:34 -0500
  • Importance: Normal

The mystery plant seems to be Large Leaf Korean Perilla.  Photo at
Some of their plants are green like the above picture and some have a very
light lavender cast between the veins sort of like
but not so dark as some in the picture.

Several people warned that like other mints, it can become an invasive

Previously I have had experience with the Japanese shiso type which has a
different look to the leaf
http://www.evergreenseeds.com/evergreenseeds/greenleafaos.html green leaf
http://www.evergreenseeds.com/evergreenseeds/redleafak.html purplely-red

Several people mentioned that this type of perilla is also called Sesame
Leaf.  It's not the same as what we get sesame seeds from as I've grown that
before and it looks like

Some usage info from
"Japanese and Korean cooks use perilla leaves fresh or pickled to flavor
rice, fish, soups and vegetables. They also use them chopped with gingerroot
in stir-fries, tempura and salads, as well as serving the salted seeds as a
snack. Green shiso leaves are used by the Japanese in western dishes as a
substitute for sweet basil. Red shiso leaves can be used to make a pink-hued
vinegar, and a lovely pink rice is achieved by mixing in a few chopped
leaves just before serving. It also enhances the flavor of rice, tossed
salads, soups and cheese balls. The seeds have a sweet, pungent taste and
are especially good when crushed and added to herb mustards.

The medicinal uses of perilla include treatment of such ailments as
indigestion, colds, malaria, coughs, and even cholera.

Commercial uses include the seed oil as a paint and ink dryer, in the making
of linoleum, and as a preservative in soy sauce. It is sometimes used as a
flavoring and in the manufacture of a sugar substitute. The leaves and seeds
of the red shiso are combined with alum and used as a red dye for fabrics.

Perilla grows in any light from shade to full sun, and it can be started
from seed in well-drained soil. Be sure to keep seedlings fairly dry until
the plants reach two inches in height and pinch them back as they grow to
make the plant bushy. After the first year, they easily self-seed. "

Note: At our garden the people growing them let them grow straight up rather
than pinching them to make them bushy.

A favorite way to eat them (besides making the leaves into kimchi) seems to
be to put rice on the leaf and then some bulgogi(a spiced piece of beef), a
flavorful soy paste, sometimes garlic or mushrooms, and some cooked
greens/kimchi and then roll it up to produce a food similar to seaweed
wrapped sushi, lettuce wraps, or dolmades.  Lots of recipes for this on the
internet.  One is

Another person passed along a way her MIL cooks it which sounds good too:
"My mother-in-law who is Korean grows this and calls it sesame but I
don't think it is a form of sesame. It is delicious though! She stacks
the leaves marinates them in soy sauce, sesame oil, and a bit of pepper
for a few days and then you can just eat them plain or wrap them around
white rice...one of my favorite things!"

In case you would like to grow them, I can report that I have had good luck
with Evergreen seeds in the past.

Thanks to everyone who helped me figure out what this plant is.


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