Recently I saw my sister with our good friend, Lee Brown, walking the property around our home, in Southwestern Indiana. They appeared to be intently searching for something, low to the ground.
Later, I inquired as to what they were hunting and if they’d found it. Thankfully, the answer was no.
Turns out our friend lost some livestock last winter, and after some research, he discovered the problem was a plant, a type of toxic mint called Perilla and also known as the Beefsteak plant and it killed multiple goats on his farm.
Lee and his wife, Brenda, reside across the field from our property. We have a horse that is a much loved part of our family and Lee wanted to ensure she was safe from the Perilla threat.
That's one of those beautiful aspects of living in a tiny village. We look after one another.
Since I'm a big fan of the Brown family's goat farm, not far from our village, the info on Perilla prompted me to write about it here, in hopes it will be seen by others who have animals endangered by the stuff.
My thanks to Lee and Brenda, as well as their son and daughter-in-law, Wyatt and Micah, for unknowingly providing me with some wonderful therapy while I've been in cancer recovery during the last year.
Ain't no way most folks can feel blue when they can spend a little time watching the antics of miniature, cavorting goats. If you've got access to such, be cautious. They can make you laugh hard enough to pop some stitches.
Between the Brown family's goats and the horses in our village, I consider myself highly favored and blessed to have such divinely assigned and designed therapists!
Things to know
Perilla is a frequent ingredient in East Asian cuisine (especially Japanese and Korean dishes), such as salads, soups and stir-fries, especially Japanese and Korean dishes. It can be served fresh, dried and pickled. The leaves have a pleasant taste that's like a combination of mint and fennel.
Of the Perilla mint plant varieties that are toxic, the flowers are the most dangerous, having the ability to cause respiratory distress syndrome. The Perilla plant has ketones that can damage the lungs through inflammation.
It’s not the first go-to plant for livestock. They tend to go after it when their seasonal ground cover (grass) is depleting in autumn weather.
Ingestion of the plant has caused multiple deaths to livestock in Southwestern Indiana, during the winter of 2021 and 2022.
How to get rid of it
A few more examples of what it looks like
Hoping this will inspire you to check your own property, if you have a lawn or pastures where this type of mint may grow, and spread the word to others who may be live in a similar environment. It's good to be proactive with such things, whenever possible.
'Til next time,
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