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Perilla is a genus consisting of one major Asiatic crop species P. frutescens and a few recognized wild species in nature, belonging to the mint family, Lamiaceae. It encompasses several distinct varieties of Asian herb, seed, and vegetable crop, including P. frutescens (deulkkae) and P. frutescens var. crispa (shiso). The genus name Perilla is also a frequently employed common name ("perilla"), applicable to all varieties. Perilla varieties are cross-fertile and intra-specific hybridization occurs naturally. Some varieties are considered invasive.

Taxa and synonyms

The classification of Perilla is confused, partly because botanists struggled with distinguishing the two distinct cultigens (as different species or variations). Until a few decades ago, P. frutescens var. crispa was regarded as a species in its own right, distinct from P. frutescens, although it was well established that these types readily cross-pollinate. An early example of dividing the two cultigens into different species is found in Matsumura's nomenclature book in 1884, where the synonym P. arguta Benth. is applied to P. frutescens var. crispa, and the synonym P. ocymoides L. was applied to P. frutescens. However the species name P. ocymoides or P. ocimoides has been used to denote P. frutescens var. crispa for a long time, especially by the Japanese, so it should not be considered a synonym for either cultigen interchangeably. Recent genetic researches confirm they are of a common gene pool, corroborating the taxonomists' claim for consolidating the two crops into one species. Possible Perilla species with insufficient description and without known herbarium specimens include:
  • P. cavaleriei H.Lév.
  • P. heteromorpha Carrière
  • P. setoyensis G.Honda
These past legacies and subsequent reclassification of taxa has led to a confusion of nomenclature. The red or purple leafed variety of P. frutescens var. crispa had been dubbed P. nankinensis, and this label was used throughout the 19th century in the West when it was introduced as an ornamental. Whether green-leafed or red-leafed, the perillaldehyde factor that characterizes the unique P. frutescens var. crispa fragrance may turn out to be present or absent in the individual or population, and this is not differentiable from outward appearance alone. Chemical studies classify the genus into different chemotypes, depending on the essential oils they contain. There are three wild species endemic to Japan, recognized as being genetically distinct from the cultivated P. frutescens var. crispa. But some references treat, e.g., P. frutescens var. hirtella as the same species as the P. frutescens var. crispa.

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Culinary use

Perilla varieties are cultivated and consumed mainly in Korea, Japan, Thailand and Vietnam. P. frutescens leaves, seeds, and seed oil are used extensively in Korean cuisine, while P. frutescens var. crispa leaves, seeds, and sprouts are used in Japanese and Vietnamese cuisines.

Medicinal use


Perilla is used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM), and is said to ease the symptoms of the common cold.

Notes and references

Explanatory notes References
"green air" © 2007 - Ingo Malchow, Webdesign Neustrelitz
This article based upon the http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perilla, the free encyclopaedia Wikipedia and is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
Further informations available on the list of authors and history: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Perilla&action=history
presented by: Ingo Malchow, Mirower Bogen 22, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany