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Asian Perilla Crops and Their Weedy Forms: Their Cultivation, Utilization and Genetic Relationships

Miyuki Nitta, Ju Kyong Lee and Ohmi Ohnishi
Economic Botany
Vol. 57, No. 2 (Summer, 2003), pp. 245-253
Published by: Springer on behalf of New York Botanical Garden Press
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/4256682
Page Count: 9
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Asian Perilla Crops and Their Weedy Forms: Their Cultivation, Utilization and Genetic Relationships
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Abstract

The cultivation and utilization of two Perilla crops were surveyed in Asia. Perilla frutescens var. frutescens is essentially an oil crop and is now widely cultivated in China and Korea. Its seeds are also used as a flavor for traditional foods in Japan, Korea, China and Nepal. In Korea, leaves of var. frutescens are used as a fresh vegetable and for making pickles. Whereas P. frutescens var. crispa is a Chinese medicine and a fresh vegetable in the Far East, it has almost disappeared in many parts of Asia. Cultivation of var. crispa is still continued in Japan and Vietnam. In particular, it is cultivated in a large scale for coloring pickles in the areas where a large amount of plum pickles are produced in Japan. In China and Korea, it remains only as a relict form. Weedy plants of Perilla are found in Japan, Korea and China. We can classify them into two forms; one, which is closely related to var. frutescens, and the other, which is similar to var. crispa. We found P. citriodora and P. hirtella in Guandong and Jiangxi provinces of China, respectively. It is clear that they are not endemic to Japan. A phylogenetic tree of samples of two Perilla crops and their weedy forms based on RAPD markers revealed that the weedy forms similar to var. crispa and var. frutescens are genetically closely related to var. crispa and var. frutescens, respectively. Var. crispa and its closely related weedy form seem to be more primitive.

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