The garden is located in Cymru Gogledd (or North Wales, if you prefer). The plant itself is a little under 2' / 24" / 60cm tall, the leaves (which are quite large) are soft and hairy, and the stem is deeply grooved, very fibrous, and hairless. When the leaves (which are quite large) are crushed they give off a slightly minty smell, and the plant also likes to have a lot of water.

Some Kind of Mint?

  • Do it smell like a pork? So a Scrophularia (literally: air of pork). – Giacomo Catenazzi Aug 24 '18 at 8:45
  • No, it definitely does not smell of pork, so not a scrophularia; but I have something remarkably similar in the garden called a common figwort (the unremarkable brown / purple flowers are almost identical). – user19777 Aug 24 '18 at 20:40
  • I notice your plant has the wildflowers tag. I don't see any flowers in the picture, nor any description of them in the question. Do you know anything about them, yet? If so, that could help people identify the plant. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 25 '18 at 15:45
  • My garden has next-to-nothing planted, save a handful of shrubs. Before I took over the garden, it contained little but (mainly) buried rubbish, rocks, rubble, grass and hardy invaders (bramble, bindweed, couch grass, and bracken); so it is safe to say that almost anything now growing in the garden is wild (or, at least, extremely hardy), as opposed to cultivated. – user19777 Aug 26 '18 at 11:32

Looks like it could be Perilla. Does it have a strong taste, like anise and cinnamon mixed together?

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    Yes, it provides an answer: perilla. The questions are merely follow-up for confirmation. This is a commonly used answer-format. – Lorel C. Aug 24 '18 at 14:32
  • I am sure that it is not Perilla (see Shule's answer), and I have not tasted any of the leaves, yet; but I will do when I am next out in the garden. – user19777 Aug 24 '18 at 20:46
  • @LorelC. Although it may be commonly used, questions are supposed to be comments. I do agree that there is an attempt to answer the question, though. So, I personally wouldn't worry about it. Adding some reasons why Perilla is a candidate could improve the answer, however. I've already done that in my answer, though (so, I don't see it as strictly necessary if the reasons are the same). – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 25 '18 at 15:32

Here's an out of the ballpark suggestion: Helianthus tuberosus (Jerusalem Artichoke). Usually multistemmed if from a tuber but if from seed you may have a single stem. Test: are the leaf petioles winged? If so, possibly Helianthus. As plant gets taller as it will, leaves change from opposite to alternate. Can get very tall. It might explain why the stem is so vigorous and beefy.

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    I grew some from seed, this year. They have single stems for a while, but they eventually grow more branches, albeit when they're much taller than the pictured plant seems to be (mine are branching now, but the branches are just small, still). They look pretty different to me (kind of like slower-growing sunflowers with narrower leaves). – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 25 '18 at 14:12
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    Yes, and the stem would likely be fully round in Helianthus. Leaf can be variable. It was worth a try. Leaves look winged in the photo, but maybe my imagination at work, confirmation bias. – Colin Beckingham Aug 25 '18 at 14:45
  • No, I am quite certain that the plant is not a Helianthus, plus the root stock does not appear to be tuberous and it seems disinclined to grow any taller, so far. For further clarification (it is not clear on the photograph), the leaves are growing in opposed pairs (ie: one leaf directly opposite another and at the same height as a similarly arranged pair). – user19777 Aug 26 '18 at 11:44

Edit: Natasha already mentioned my first suggestion here, but I didn't see it before I answered.

It's possibly shiso (Perilla frutescens), which is in the mint family. It looks like that, anyway. It grows wild in the eastern United States, but I'm not sure if it's in Wales (although I imagine it could grow nicely and reseed there)—sorry for the potentially offensive typo earlier.

Shiso has a number of uses (edible leaves, food dye for red kinds, etc.), and you can buy it at vegetable seed stores. The link gives an example with very large leaves, which looks similar to yours.

It also looks a lot like stinging nettle (but much more like shiso). I've heard a rumor that stinging nettle likes much water. Stinging nettle isn't in the mint family.

It's difficult to say what it is for sure, but my opinion is that it's likely shiso, or another Perilla species, considering the deeply grooved stems, the resemblance, the minty smell, and the huge leaves.

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  • No, not Perilla frutescens, either: the main stalk is deeply grooved and hairless, plus the leaves do not grow from basal bracts. Your Shiso is fairly evidently mint family, my plant is not (save for a passing similarity in appearance and a slight mint smell when the leaves are crushed). Mint will also grow anywhere in almost any climate ...and if you lived in Britain you would not need help identifying a stinging nettle (they are very distinctive in more ways than one)... – user19777 Aug 24 '18 at 20:50
  • In pictures I've seen, shiso stems can be (but are not always) deeply grooved and they sometimes (definitely not always) appear hairless (although more detail is in order to be sure, IMO); see the grooves here: 1tess.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/shiso-square-stem_6884.jpg and nwdistrict.ifas.ufl.edu/phag/files/2014/09/Perilla-Mint-3.jpg The mint family has ~7,000 species (there are often exceptions to abilities in a family), but yes, shiso is said to be quite the reseeder, in sundry climates. Even if shiso always has hairy stems, that doesn't mean all perilla has hairy stems. – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 25 '18 at 13:00
  • Perilla species can hybridize with each other, too. You'll notice that in some plant species (not speaking of Perilla), there are hairless and hairy forms within a single species (e.g. Capsicum annuum; most are hairless, but then you have hairy breeds like Goat's Weed); and another species in a genus is sometimes hairy (e.g. Capsicum pubescens—while most peppers aren't). Are you thinking the stem must be more rectangular for your plant to be in the Mint family? – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 25 '18 at 13:43
  • You'll notice that reports differ on whether Perilla frutescens has hairy stems (here's one that says it's hairless): rangeplants.tamu.edu/plant/beefsteak-plant-perilla-mint (Here's one that says it's hairy:) tennesseemeatgoats.com/articles2/perillaminttoxic.html – Brōtsyorfuzthrāx Aug 25 '18 at 14:06
  • This is getting interesting: there are at least 11 varieties of mint in Britain, some with hairy leaves or stems, some not, and at least one with a grooved stem. I will not deny that it could well be Shiso; and I still need to go and taste-test one of the leaves. – user19777 Aug 26 '18 at 11:42

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