Vascular Plants of North Carolina
Account for Beefsteak-plant - Perilla frutescens   (L.) Britton
Members of Lamiaceae:
Only member of Perilla in NC.
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Section 6 » Order Lamiales » Family Lamiaceae
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Author(L.) Britton
DistributionOccurs across the state, but absent from the Sandhills proper and the southern Coastal Plain. First collected in 1898 near Chimney Rock, Rutherford County; next in 1926 in Forsyth County; by 1940 in several more counties.

Native of India; in N.A. MA to Ont. and NE, south to FL and TX; also WA, CA.
AbundanceFairly common to common in the Piedmont and Mountains; uncommon to infrequent in the Coastal Plain. This plant is spreading gradually in NC and is expected to occur in many more counties. In some areas in the eastern Piedmont, it is already becoming a noxious weed.
HabitatMoist to mesic (periodically inundated) soils of streams and riversides, edge of millpond, bottomlands, floodplain forests, woods roads, roadsides, dirt parking lot, waste ground. It seems particularly prone to invading openings in bottomlands when sewerlines and other utilities are constructed.
PhenologyFlowering and fruiting August-November.
IdentificationBeefsteak-plant is so-called due to the often dark, red-purple color of the leaves. The plants are annual, up to 2 feet tall, with well-spaced pairs of broadly ovate leaves with long stalks, strongly curved veins, and marginal teeth. The inflorescence is terminal and in upper axils, simple spike-like racemes. Each flower is pink to whitish, has a small bract beneath, and the sepals have long hairs. The plants seem to remain standing well into winter or the following spring, brown but with the distinctive erect spikes still present.
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State RankSE
Global RankGNR
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