Fine Art

Callicarpa americana 2

Classification System: APG IV

Superregnum: Eukaryota
Regnum: Plantae
Cladus: Angiosperms
Cladus: Eudicots
Cladus: Core eudicots
Cladus: Asterids
Cladus: Lamiids
Ordo: Lamiales

Familia: Lamiaceae
Subfamilia: Callicarpoideae
Genus: Callicarpa
Species: Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana L., 1753

Burchardia americana (L.) Duhamel, Traité Arbr. Arbust. 1: 111 (1755).
Johnsonia americana (L.) Mill., Gard. Dict. ed. 8 (1768).
Burchardia callicarpa Crantz, Inst. Rei Herb. 2: 360 (1766).
Callicarpa serrata Moench, Methodus: 468 (1794).
Callicarpa viburnifolia Salisb., Prodr. Stirp. Chap. Allerton: 53 (1796).
Callicarpa americana var. lactea F.J.Müll., Amer. Garden 10: 463 (1889).
Callicarpa americana var. purpurea F.J.Müll., Amer. Garden 10: 463 (1889).
Callicarpa americana var. alba Rehder in L.H.Bailey, Stand. Cycl. Hort. 2: 628 (1914).
Callicarpa americana f. lactea (F.J.Müll.) Rehder, Bibliogr. Cult. Trees: 584 (1949).

Native distribution areas:
Primary references

Linnaeus, C. 1753. Species Plantarum. Tomus I: 111. Reference page.

Additional references

Govaerts, R.H.A. 2003. World Checklist of Selected Plant Families Database in ACCESS: 1-216203. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. [unavailable for the public] Reference page.


Govaerts, R. et al. 2022. Callicarpa americana in World Checklist of Selected Plant Families. The Board of Trustees of the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Apr 10. Reference page.
Hassler, M. 2022. Callicarpa americana. World Plants: Synonymic Checklists of the Vascular Plants of the World In: Roskovh, Y., Abucay, L., Orrell, T., Nicolson, D., Bailly, N., Kirk, P., Bourgoin, T., DeWalt, R.E., Decock, W., De Wever, A., Nieukerken, E. van, Zarucchi, J. & Penev, L., eds. 2022. Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life. Published online. Accessed: 2022 Apr 10. Reference page. 2022. Callicarpa americana. Missouri Botanical Garden. Published online. Accessed: 10 Apr 2022.
International Plant Names Index. 2022. Callicarpa americana. Published online. Accessed: Apr 10 2022.
USDA, ARS, Germplasm Resources Information Network. Callicarpa americana in the Germplasm Resources Information Network (GRIN), U.S. Department of Agriculture Agricultural Research Service.

Vernacular names
English: American Beautyberry
français: Callicarpe d'Amérique

Callicarpa americana, the American beautyberry, is an open-habitat, native shrub of the Southern United States which is often grown as an ornamental in gardens and yards. American beautyberries produce large clusters of purple berries, which birds and deer eat, thus distributing the seeds.


The raw berries, while palatably sweet, are suitable for human consumption only in small amounts, because they are astringent. Some people have reported mild stomach cramps after consumption. The berries are also used in jellies and wine. The roots are used to make herbal tea. As a folk remedy it has been claimed that "fresh, crushed leaves of American beautyberry, Callicarpa americana ... helped keep biting insects away from animals such as horses and mules".[1] A chemical compound isolated from the plant, callicarpenal, was effective as a mosquito repellent in a laboratory experiment using a simulated skin model.[2]

The berries ripen in September through October and are a favorite among wild bird species including cardinals, mockingbirds, finches, woodpeckers and more. Beautyberry is commonly planted in landscape designs to attract wildlife because of the food source the berries provide and the cover animals get from the shrub itself.[3]

The native range of C. americana extends from Maryland to Florida, west to Texas and Arkansas, and also Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Cuba.[4]
American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana). Closeup photo taken 10-30-2008, North Carolina.
American Beautyberry

Plants with white berries are found in cultivation under the name Callicarpa americana var. lactea;[4][5][6] not all authorities recognize this as a distinct variety (in the sense of the botanical rank below subspecies).[7]

Propagation: propagation can be accomplished by making traditional cuttings; or germinating fully ripened (purple) seeds in pots or growing flats; or by scattering seeds on bare ground in a suitable area and lightly covering them or stepping on them to gently press them into the soil.

Scientists Confirm Folk Remedy Repels Mosquitoes University Of Mississippi (ScienceDaily) July 3, 2006
"Learning from our elders: Folk Remedy Yields Mosquito-Thwarting Compound". Agricultural Research. Agricultural Research Service. February 6, 2006.
"Wildlife Gardening: Beautyberry". Prepper Gardens. Archived from the original on February 1, 2014. Retrieved January 23, 2014.
American Beautyberry information
"Callicarpa americana var. lactea F.J. Müll". Tropicos.
"Callicarpa americana var. lactea". Archived from the original on 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2008-08-06.
"Callicarpa americana var. lactea F.J. Muell., Taxonomic Serial No.: 532805". Integrated Taxonomic Information System.

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