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Re: Unknown plant
> From: Hostler Richard <rhostler at pcconnection_com>
> I came across a plant this weekend labeled as "beef steak plant." It was
> amazingly brilliant purple so I bought it. It is a stem plant that is
> completely purple with 1.5 - 2 inch round - heart-shaped leaves. Each
> leaf has a single branching vein. The node length is about 1.5 inches.
> Has anyone heard of a plant by this name or have suggestions as to what
> it might be or how I could narrow my search? Thanks.
This could well be Perilla frutescens, an annual in the mint family.
Does it have a spicy basil or cloves smell when bruised? It's often
called beefsteak plant, and is used in Japanese and Korean cuisine to
color pickles pink and as a flavoring. In China it's grown for the
seed oil which is used as a flavored cooking oil. It's also known
P.frutescens is a terrestrial plant, and looks very much as you describe.
Like so many mints, I expect that cuttings can be rooted in water or anything
else. When it escapes cultivation, it is often found in dry places. I
wouldn't count on much longevity submerged.