Curious-This Plant Has Me Wondering....

merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

Perilla frutescens-common name beefsteak mint. I noticed it's arrival years ago with a hay bale brought in from a neighboring county. Popped up here and there, last year some growing in my buck's yard and around my doe's yard, grew to be about a foot high. Shallow rooted, unpleasant odor, the goats ignored it. It grew this year, behind the nursery yard to a height of 5-6 feet, I noticed the kids, then the does eating it. Still ignoring the smaller plants but eating the larger ones, I did further research specifically in regard to goats. Beefsteak mint contains an enzyme that destroys a goat's lungs, death is likely within 24 hours. But my goats are alive and well, ABSOLUTELY no ill effects. Needless to say, I eradicated all the plant regardless of size from my goats reach and will be making sure it no longer thrives on this mountain top. But I can't help but wonder why my goats, especially the kids were not harmed. Could the enzyme that harms be eliminated with growth? Anyone have any idea why my sweet goats were not affected? (Thanking the Creator they weren't).


  • pseabolt
    pseabolt Posts: 48 ✭✭✭

    Hi @merlin44 ! I have no idea as to the answers to your questions but I’m going to be following your post. I’m curious like that. I’ve never heard of this plant, did you happen to take a picture of it?

  • VickiP
    VickiP Posts: 586 ✭✭✭✭

    Is this the plant? Sadly we have this growing here, I have been pulling it when I find it. I also found that the plant can be food for humans I don't plan on cultivating it, but I might add the pulled plants to our diet.

  • merlin44
    merlin44 Posts: 426 ✭✭✭✭

    @pseabolt, @VickiP provided a link to a picture of the plant (thanks VickiP).

    The plant has multiple possible uses but it's toxicity to livestock is a threat to all who have animals. I have tried a vinegar/salt mixture herbicide on a test patch, found it effective, the plant dead within 24 hours.

  • bcabrobin
    bcabrobin Posts: 251 ✭✭✭

    The same has happened on our place with chokecerry bushes/trees. Everyone says it kills, had a neighbor lose 25 goats in one night. But my goats have knocked fences down to get to the tree, eat everything they could reach and they all lived. I know it was a chokecherry because we had picked the berries to make jelly.

    It better to get rid of something but sometimes I think the animals know whats good and whats not. I know they eat a lot of stuff but mine have always been picky they don't eat everything like people think they do.