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Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst' (Purple Beautyberry)
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Plantae
(unranked): Angiosperms
(unranked): Eudicots
(unranked): Asterids
Order: Lamiales
Family: Lamiaceae
Genus: Callicarpa

Callicarpa acuminata
Callicarpa americana
Callicarpa bodinieri
Callicarpa cana
Callicarpa japonica
Callicarpa cathayana
Callicarpa dichotoma
Callicarpa erioclona
Callicarpa formosana
Callicarpa kwangtungensis
Callicarpa lanata
Callicarpa longifolia
Callicarpa macrophylla
Callicarpa maingayi
Callicarpa mollis
Callicarpa nudiflora
Callicarpa pedunculata
Callicarpa pentandra
Callicarpa reevesii
Callicarpa rubella
Callicarpa shikokiana
Callicarpa tomentosa

Beautyberry (Callicarpa) is a genus of shrubs and small trees in the family Lamiaceae[1][2][3]; between 40-150 species are accepted by different botanists. They are native to east and southeast Asia (where the majority of the species occur), Australia, southeast North America and Central America.



The temperate species are deciduous, the tropical species evergreen. The leaves are simple, opposite, and 5-25 cm long. The flowers are in clusters, white to pinkish. The fruit is a berry, 2-5 mm diameter and pink to red-purple with a highly distinctive metallic lustre, are very conspicuous in clusters on the bare branches after the leaves fall. The berries last well into the winter or dry season and are an important survival food for birds and other animals, though they will not eat them until other sources are depleted. The berries are highly astringent but are made into wine and jelly. Callicarpa species are used as food plants by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Endoclita malabaricus and Endoclita undulifer.



American Beautyberry Callicarpa americana is native to the southeastern United States. It can typically reach 1-2 m in height. A jelly can be made from its ripe berries.

Bodinier's Beautyberry Callicarpa bodinieri, native to west-central China (Sichuan, Hubei, Shaanxi) is more cold-tolerant than C. americana, and is the species most widely cultivated in north western Europe. It can reach 3 m tall.

Japanese Beautyberry Callicarpa japonica, native to Japan, is also cultivated in gardens. It is called Murasakishikibu in Japanese, in honor of Murasaki Shikibu.

Chemical constituents

Four chemicals have been isolated that appear to be the active ingredients; borneol,[4] callicarpenal, intermedeol, and spathulenol. The discovery and use of callicarpenal has been patented by the United States Department of Agriculture Agriculture Research Service.[5]



Insect repellant

American beautyberry or Callicarpa americana has been found to be a natural insect repellent. It has found to be repellant to mosquitoes, which can carry yellow fever and malaria, as well as the tick, which carries Lyme disease.

Wine uses

It has also been used to produce wine.


  1. ^ "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website - Lamiales". Missouri Botanical Garden.  
  2. ^ "GRIN Taxonomy for Plants - Callicarpa". United States Department of Agriculture.  
  3. ^ Heywood, V.H., Brummitt, R.K., Culham, A. & Seberg, O. 2007: Flowering Plant Families of the World. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
  4. ^ "Species Information". Retrieved 2008-03-02.  
  5. ^ "Learning from our elders: Folk Remedy Yields Mosquito-Thwarting Compound". Agricultural Research (Agricultural Research Service). February 06.  

External links


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