Callicarpa dichotoma (Lour.) K.Koch

Purple Beautyberry, Chinese Beautyberry




Family: Lamiaceae

Genus: Callicarpa

Category: Shrub - Deciduous

Zones: 5 to 8

Size: 4 to 5' tall and usually slightly wider

Exposure: Sun, Filtered Sun, Part Shade


Prefers moist well-drained soil and full sun to part shade. Naturally a plant found at the edge of woodlands. Grown for its purple berries in autumn, persisting into winter if the birds don't take them. The berries are more striking if planted in front of dark evergreens. Flowers and berries on current year branches, so yearly pruning produces more berries. Prune in March to a height of half the eventual desired height. Form is loosely upright. Dirr considers this to have the "best garden form" of the Beautyberry species.



Native to China, Japan, Korea and Taiwan. First published in Dendrologie 2(1): 336 in 1872. Basionym is Porphyra dichotoma Lour.

Tropicos also lists Callicarpa dichotoma (Lour.) Raeusch. published in Nomencl. Bot ed. 3:37 in 1797 and annotates as "nom. nud." probably because the listing in Nomencl. Bot. gives no description, just Genus and species. This name is therefore considered illegitimate and a synonym of Callicarpa dichotoma (Lour.) K.Koch.

'Dichotoma' = forked in pairs, repeatedly dividing in two branches (Stearn).


Sources of Information

© 2010-12 Lisa J. Miner