Callicarpa bodinieri
Common Name: beautyberry
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Central and western China
Zone: 6 to 8
Height: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Spread: 6.00 to 10.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Lilac
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Low
Suggested Use: Hedge
Flower: Showy
Leaf: Good Fall
Fruit: Showy

Culture

Winter hardy to USDA Zones 6-8 where it is easily grown in average, medium moisture, well-drained soil in full sun to part shade. Best flowering and fruiting typically occur in full sun. Stems can become leggy in too much shade. Prune in early spring if needed. Flowers bloom on new wood. Plant in a protected location in USDA Zone 5 where the above-ground stems may not be reliably winter hardy. In the alternative, shrubs may be grown in the manner of herbaceous perennials in Zone 5 by pruning stems back to 6” in late winter each year. Best cross-pollination and resultant fruit production occur when shrubs are planted in groups or massed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callicarpa bodinieri, commonly known as Bodinier beautyberry, is a rounded, deciduous shrub that typically grows 6-10’ tall with upright slender branching. It is native to Sichuan, Hubei and Shaanxi provinces in central and western China. Lilac flowers in dense sprays (cymes to 1.5” diameter) bloom in the leaf axils along the stems in summer (June-August) on new growth of the season. Flowers are followed by glossy violet-purple fruits (1/8” to 1/6” diameter) which ripen in September, but put on their best fruit display through October. Elliptic to ovate-elliptic green leaves (to 7” long) with acuminate tips and toothed margins are downy on both surfaces. Stems are also downy. Leaves turn golden yellow in autumn. This shrub is primarily included in gardens for its showy fall fruit display.

Genus name comes from Greek meaning beautiful fruit.

Specific epithet honors Emile Marie Bodinieri (1842-1901), French missionary and botanist who collected plants in China.

Problems

No serious insect or disease problems. Some susceptibility to leaf spot, stem diseases and black mold. May suffer significant stem dieback or die to the ground in harsh winters.

Garden Uses

Group or mass. Borders. Bird gardens. Underplanting for open woodland areas. For an interesting fall berry display, plant in combination with other fall berry-producing shrubs such as Ilex verticillata (red berries) and Pyracantha (orange berries). Berry-laden fall stems may be cut for flower arrangements.