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Callicarpa dichotoma (Lour.) K. Koch

American beautyberry

KingdomPlantaePlants, but not fungi, lichens, or algae
SubkingdomTracheobiontaVascular plants—plants with a “circulatory system” for delivering water and nutrients
DivisionMagnoliophytaFlowering plants, also known as angiosperms
ClassMagnoliopsidaDicotyledons—plants with two initial seed leaves
SubclassAsteridaeA large class that encompasses asters
OrderLamialesAromatic herbs and shrubs, including lavender, lilac, olive, jasmine, ash, teak, snapdragon, sesame, psyllium, garden sage, mint, basil, and rosemary
FamilyLamiaceaeMint family
GenusCallicarpaBeautyberries—small shrubs and trees, mostly Asian, also from the Americas and Australia
SpeciesdichotomaForked in pairs, repeatedly dividing into pairs of branches

About plant names...

Beautyberry is native to China, Vietnam, Korea, and Japan; and cultivated in the United States for hedges. It is also naturalized in a few states.

Plants: Shrubs are deciduous, and typically 3-4′ (91-121 cm) high and 4-5′ (1.2-1.5 m) around.

Leaves: Opposite, simple, bright medium green leaves, all on the same plane. Leaves are 1-3″ (2.5-7.6 cm) long.

Flowers: Lavendar-pink, appearing June to August.

Fruits: Brilliant purple showy berries in clusters. (Some cultivars have white berries.) They remain after leaves fall, looking even more dramatic.

Edibility: Berries are bitter, mealy, and inedible, though they are popular with squirrels and mockingbirds. Many sources consider them to be poisonous.

Online References:

The University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences

The Missouri Botanical Garden

Callicarpa purpurea Juss.


Callicarpa dichotoma description by Thomas H. Kent, last updated 25 May 2020.

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Callicarpa dichotoma (American beautyberry)

Not looking very beautiful... · 11/30/2014 · James River, Midlothian, Virginia · ≈ 3 × 2″ (8.4 × 5.6 cm)

Callicarpa dichotoma (American beautyberry)

9/21/2012 · By Jacquelyn Boyt


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