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Perilla frutescens

Perilla frutescens, Photo: Michael Lahanas

Cladus: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Divisio: Magnoliophyta
Classis: Magnoliopsida
Ordo: Lamiales
Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Nepetoideae
Tribus: Elsholtzieae
Genus: Perilla
Species: Perilla frutescens


Perilla frutescens (L.) Britton

Vernacular names
English: Beefsteak plant
日本語: シソ
中文: 紫蘇, 紫苏


* Mem. Torrey Bot. Club 5:277. 1894

Perilla frutescens (Green Shiso;紫苏; Egoma syn. Perilla nankinensis (Lour.) Decne.) is an edible herb and ornamental plant in the Lamiaceae family. Its leaves are used as foods in Southern China, Japan and Korea and its seeds are used to make edible oil in Korea. Sometimes, the seeds are ground and added to soup for seasoning in Korea. It has also been used in traditional Chinese medicine for more than two thousand years.

There are red shiso and green shiso. The red shiso has red leaves and used mostly in fish stews in southern China. The green shiso is more commonly found in Korean and Japanese cusines. Koreans make pickled green shiso with red chili powder and soysauce. Japanese eats sashimi with green shiso.

Egoma and shiso are very similar plants and their seeds are difficult to distinguish even by scanning electron microscope. Their tastes, however, are quite different. Oil was extracted from egoma in many areas of Southeast and East Asia during the historical period and it is still used to cover cookies in rural areas of Korea. For centuries in Japan, egoma was also an important source of oil for oil lamps.[1]

1. ^ Gay, Suzanne. (2009). The Lamp-Oil Merchants of Iwashimizu Shrine: Transregional Commerce in Medieval Japan. Monumenta Nipponica, 64:1, 1–51 (see p. 14).

* Pink, A. (2004). Gardening for the Million. Project Gutenberg Literary Archive Foundation. http://www.gutenberg.org/etext/11892.
* Keiji Imamura. Prehistoric Japan - New Perspectives on Insular East Asia. Honolulu.

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