Callicarpa pilosissima

Today’s entry was composed by Bryant. He writes:

Thank you to James Gaither (aka J.G. in S. F.@Flickr) for these images (photo 1, photo 2, and photo 3) of Callicarpa pilosissima.

The first photograph illustrates a remarkable pattern that occurs as the inflorescence of Callicarpa pilosissima develops, while the second photo shows that the pattern is best visible in the early stages of floral development. Its peculiar inflorescence has gained the species some popularity as an ornamental outside of its native range of Taiwan. In the wild, this shrub grows in mixed montane forests at elevations ranging from 500-1500m.

Taxa in the genus Callicarpa are often referred to as beautyberries, and given its native range, this species is sometimes called Taiwan beautyberry. For an excellent summary of the ethnobotanical uses of the genus, see: Jones, WP and AD Kinghorn. 2008. Biologically Active Natural Products of the Genus Callicarpa. Curr Bioact Compd.. 4(1):15-32. doi:10.2174/157340708784533393. Callicarpa pilosissima is noted as having some small cytotoxic effect against leukemia in mice. Other members of the genus seem better-studied and have additional demonstrated uses, including as insect repellents. Research into the chemical constituents of species of this group is ongoing.

Callicarpa pilosissima was formerly considered a member of the Verbenaceae, but is now placed under the Lamiaceae (or mint family). The Lamiaceae are closely related to the Verbenaceae and many of their species share common aspects, such as quadrangular stems and aromatic leaves. The Lamiaceae is a relatively large plant family of roughly 250 genera and well over 7,000 species.

Callicarpa pilosissima
Callicarpa pilosissima
Callicarpa pilosissima

4 responses to “Callicarpa pilosissima”

  1. Bonnie

    I can see that first photo as a brooch, in emeralds.

  2. Miriam

    What a great example of fractals in nature! Moving from the orderly to the seemingly random.

  3. Nadia

    Never noticed so neat arrangement! Perfect pictures!

  4. sue

    My husband and I grew one of these fronm the berry we had picked.Interesting the bush is beautiful when all the leaves are gone and you have all these blue Berries all over it but the birds would not touch them. When the berries got really ripe red to drop off in the winter
    we noticed that the Anna Hummingbird would attack it,
    maybe getting some moisture from the berry. It truly is a
    Beauty Berry.

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