|Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst' (Purple Beautyberry)|
Callicarpa (beautyberry) is a genus of shrubs and small trees in the family Lamiaceae; 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.
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 northwestern Europe. It can reach 3 meters tall.
American beautyberry has been used as a folk remedy to prevent mosquito bites. Four chemicals isolated from Callicarpa have been shown to act as insect repellents: borneol, callicarpenal, intermedeol, and spathulenol. The use of callicarpenal has been patented by the United States Department of Agriculture's Agriculture Research Service as a mosquito repellent.
It has also been used to produce wine.
- "Angiosperm Phylogeny Website - Lamiales". Missouri Botanical Garden.
- "GRIN Taxonomy for Plants - Callicarpa". United States Department of Agriculture.
- Heywood, V.H., Brummitt, R.K., Culham, A. & Seberg, O. 2007: Flowering Plant Families of the World. Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
- "Learning from our elders: Folk Remedy Yields Mosquito-Thwarting Compound". Agricultural Research (Agricultural Research Service). February 6, 2006.
- Scientists Confirm Folk Remedy Repels Mosquitoes University Of Mississippi (ScienceDaily) July 3, 2006
- "Species Information". sun.ars-grin.gov. Retrieved 2008-03-02.
- Cantrell, C. L.; Klun, J. A.; Bryson, C. T.; Kobaisy, M.; Duke, S. O. (2005). "Isolation and Identification of Mosquito Bite Deterrent Terpenoids from Leaves of American (Callicarpa americana) and Japanese (Callicarpa japonica) Beautyberry". Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry 53 (15): 5948–53. doi:10.1021/jf0509308. PMID 16028979.
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