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Beefsteak Plant (Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton)

Also known as beefsteakplant, shiso, Korean perilla, wild sesame.

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Beefsteak Plant
Photo © kent, Public Domain.


An aromatic perennial herb native to south and east Asia and introduced in eastern North America, where it is often invasive.

Range - Expand

Introduced or Not Present

This tentative map is based on our own research. It may have limited data on Canada and/or Mexico, and there is some subjectivity in our assignment of plants as introduced vs. expanded. Read more in this blog post.


The habitat preferences of this species in North America are not well-documented.

Seems to prefer disturbed habitats in well-drained to excessively-drained soils, from loam to sand or gravel. Tolerates a wide range of moisture conditions, from dry to wet. Tolerates light shade but not a closed forest canopy.

Frequently found along paths and in other parts of forests where disturbance has created higher-light conditions. Also found along roadsides, railroads, in sandy or gravely areas along streams, and in urban and suburban areas.

Life Cycle

This plant is a perennial that reproduces both by seed and vegetatively. It sometimes forms large colonies.


In India, southern China, Japan, and Korea, this species is grown as a food plant. The leaves are used as an herb and vegetable. The seeds are used as a seasoning, and are also used as a source of oil for cooking. In Japan it is also used as a garnish.

Occasionally used as a landscaping plant, usually as red-leafed and/or curly-leafed cultivars. It resembles coleus, but is perennial in colder climates.

The oil of the plant is also used as an antihistamine and to treat allergies.

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) | Illinois Wildflowers (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) | USDA PLANTS Database (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens | Go Botany (About This Site)

Beefsteak Plant | iNaturalist (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens (Beefsteak Plant) | Missouri Botanical Garden Plant Finder (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens | Biota of North America Project (BONAP) (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens | NatureServe Explorer (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens | Missouri Plants (About This Site)

Beefsteak Plant | Maryland Biodiversity Project (About This Site)

Perilla frutescens (L.) Britt. (Perilla, Beefsteak Plant) | Digital Atlas of the Virginia Flora (About This Site)

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Photo © kent, Public Domain.