The staff here at Bernheim have been working on removing the invasive species Beefsteak Plant (Perilla frutescens) from areas in the arboretum and natural areas. Beefsteak is a member of the mint family and is native to Asia.
It is an annual, and flowers in August here in Kentucky. It is found along creeks, power lines, roads, and forest edges, and can quickly spread. It was probably introduced to the United States as a garden plant in the 1800s, and is still being sold and planted in landscapes today. It is considered toxic to livestock and humans, and can quickly take over natural areas.
It has only recently been found in Bernheim in the last ten years, and is actively being removed every August and September. There is zero tolerance for it here at Bernheim, and all plants that we know about are removed from our borders. Unfortunately, due to Bernheim’s large size (15,625 acres), we may be missing populations of this very invasive species. If you see it here please let our staff know so we can remove it. Bernheim staff removes the beefsteak by hand pulling or weedeating it before it goes to flower.
Unfortunately it is found in areas outside Bernheim, and will continue to be a problem. We will continue to remove it, and we encourage our visitors to remove it from their landscapes to protect Kentucky’s beautiful natural habitats.