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Published In: Species Plantarum 1: 111. 1753. (1 May 1753) (Sp. Pl.) Name publication detailView in BotanicusView in Biodiversity Heritage Library

Project Name Data (Last Modified On 8/25/2017)
Acceptance : Accepted
Project Data     (Last Modified On 7/9/2009)
Status: Native


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1. Callicarpa americana L. (American beautyberry, beautyberry, French mulberry)

Pl. 426 a, b; Map 1939

Stems 80–150(–250) cm long, usually relatively stout. Twigs with the surface partially or completely hidden by a dense, scurfy to woolly covering of short-stalked, stellate (dendritic) hairs, this wearing away with age. Leaves opposite or rarely in whorls of 3 at a few nodes, shortly to moderately petiolate, the petiole 5–35 mm (longer than the inflorescence stalks), usually densely stellate-hairy. Leaf blades (2–)5–23 cm long, (1–)2–13 cm wide, narrowly to broadly ovate or elliptic, tapered at the base, tapered to a sharply pointed tip, the margins with relatively coarse, blunt to sharp teeth, the surfaces moderately pubescent with mostly stellate hairs, the undersurface also with inconspicuous, sessile glands, the upper surface becoming glabrous or nearly so at maturity. Inflorescences appearing as small, dense, axillary, paniculate clusters of numerous flowers, the stalk 1–5 mm long. Calyces 1.5–1.8 mm long, very shallowly 4-lobed, the lobes broadly triangular. Corollas 4.0–4.5 mm long, light pink to pale purple or blue (rarely reddish-tinged or white), the 4 lobes shorter than the tube. Fruits 3–6 mm in diameter, the outer surface purplish red to pinkish purple, sometimes bluish-tinged. 2n=36. June–August.

Uncommon in the southern portion of the state (southeastern U.S. west to Missouri, Oklahoma, and Texas). Ledges and tops of bluffs and openings of mesic upland forests on adjacent slopes; also bottomland forests.

This species was a favorite of Julian Steyermark, who remarked on the unusual color of its attractive, long-persistent fruits and its suitability for cultivation as an ornamental. Steyermark was adamantly opposed to the damming of Ozark watersheds by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the creation of reservoirs. He wrote passionately decrying the destruction of scenic natural habitats and rare plants in the early 1950s when Bull Shoals Lake was created in the White River watershed in southwestern Missouri and adjacent Arkansas. Callicarpa americana, which he had discovered in 1949 growing on bluffs overlooking the river, was singled out as a prime example of a wonderful plant lost from the Ozarks as the lake waters rose (Steyermark, 1952). Although Steyermark believed that the species had become extirpated from the region, small populations still persist on the bluffs there above the high water line, and a few additional populations also have been discovered elsewhere in the state. Missouri is at the northwestern extreme of the overall range of the species.



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