Time to end the suspense ….It is Japanese Perilla or Shiso (Perilla frutecens). This purple, leafy plant used most commonly in oriental cooking. People often looked at it and think it is Opal Basil or Coleus. But it is not. I must admit, it is very pretty and adds nice color to a garden.
However, I do want to attach a very strong warning with this plant. It is definitely invasive. It reseeds readily and will quickly fill a space with pretty purple and green plants and blooms. I actually pull it like weeds and only plant it in a pot. After all it is a member of the mint family.
Shiso also known as beefsteak plant or purple mint, is a valuable herb to many and a problematic peak to many other. It is toxic to grazing animals and even deadly to coast, sheep, cattle and horses.
This plant is defiantly part of the “If You Can’t Beat it, Eat it Family” Personally, I have not used it culinarily but keep collecting recipes to give it a try. It must be tasty since it is used in Japan, China, Korea, Laos, Vietnam and South Asia cuisines.
So give it a try, if you are adventurous but be ready to weed!!!