Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'

Discussion in 'Photographs' started by Daniel Mosquin, Oct 18, 2003.

  1. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    UBC Accession #23072-0537-1983
    Winter Garden
    Photo by Daniel Mosquin

    The fruit in the background is from Pyracantha rogersiana 'Flava', UBC Accession #21582-0013-1982
     

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  2. Daniel Mosquin

    Daniel Mosquin Renowned Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    Same accession
    Photo by Daniel Mosquin
    Canon 300D
    October 24, 2004
     

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  3. Those berries are truly blue-blooded. They look beautiful in the pictures. Does it taste like a blueberry?
     
  4. Eric La Fountaine

    Eric La Fountaine Rising Contributor UBC Botanical Garden Forums Administrator Forums Moderator 10 Years

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    A quote from Paghat the Ratgirl:


    "These shimmering fruits are drupes rather than true berries; they are not regarded as edible, though they are not toxic. They taste bad enough even deer dislike them, & they aren't particularly fond of the pungeant leaves either. The bad taste means the gorgeous berries are apt to last quite long into winter, though when there are no more food options in the landscape, birds or deer may finally get 'round to them."
    http://www.paghat.com/beautyberry.html

    The berries of Calicarpa (beauty berry) often come in purple or lilac shades. I have read that C. americana is sometimes eaten.
     
  5. wcbenedict

    wcbenedict Member

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    In the southern United States Callicarpa americana is most often called the French Mulberry. While not all that common, many of the older folks, of both the Scots-Irish and African descent, make jelly from the fruits. It is quite a pleasant taste. My mother, back in the fifties and sixties operated a wild-fruit jelly plant in Sopchoppy, Florida and Fr. Mulberry was one of her best sellers. Of course the prickly pear cactus jelly was a big seller also. wcb.
     
  6. javsmom

    javsmom Member

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    been wondering what these were... Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' is quite a mouthful but i'm assuming these are the same:
    DSCF2316a.jpg
     
  7. wcbenedict

    wcbenedict Member

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    "Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion' is quite a mouthful but i'm assuming these are the same:" Not certain. It has been almost twelve years since I had a career killing back injury and got out of the "expensive gardener" business. Subsequently I have not kept up with the profusion of the cultivars of the Florida natives. A movement began back in the early sixties and slowly developed until it sort of took off in the late eighties wherein nurseries (and county ag agents) all over the country began the plant native concept of landscaping. It makes since from the viewpoint that natives are already adapted to the local conditions and are not as likely to become untenable problems later. The movement at first saw a lot of the small Florida nurseries begin to experiment with the Florida plants and with the vagaries of propagation. Result? Lots of new cultivars that I'm no longer familiar with. The pictured plant looks very much like the C. americana that grows wild in somewhat mass profusion in the red clay hills of northern Florida and southern Georgia, in that the color is purely royal and the berries are in copious, somewhat flattened globes along the stems. I can only assume that it has been correctly identified as C. bodinieri var. etc. It is not a native plant where I grew up and I am not really familiar with it. The C. americana were the plants my mother collected from for her jelly. As noted by others, the berries of Callicarpa are non-edible in the raw state. As to toxicity, some sources say yay, others nay, but I can tell you from personal experience as a goofy little Florida Cracker, they taste like pure-T hell. Not inviting at all... nay, not one little bit! The amazing part is that the jelly is fabulous. No... they do not taste like Blueberries in the least. Their taste , as far as I know, is distinct to the genus. Eric, above mentions their pungeant [sic] leaves as being near nuff as bad to the point deer steer clear of them as well. This is true, but the leaves actually have a rather subtle minty taste... if you can get past the acridity. What is the truth of the leaves is that they are indeed guilty of being allergenic to some people, contact dermatitis being the mode. Im not sure how widespread this is [I suspect not very, as it is not a commonly named plant like poison ivy] but I have one cousin who is distinctly allergic to even the least contact.
     
  8. javsmom

    javsmom Member

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    these are in vancouver bc if that makes any difference as to what they are...
     
  9. wcbenedict

    wcbenedict Member

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    Location has much to do with what is and what isn't in the plant kingdom. Species diversity is not a simple matter of location, however. It includes all sorts of variables involving soils, the pH, the climate, the face of the slope's orientation, understory, canopy, etc., nearly ad nauseum. Some genera are extremely prolific and are endimic to very large areas and easily naturalize into others, and some genera have very limited diversity... many cases of just one or two species are documented... and are extremely limited in their natural habitat and do not transfer well, if at all. BUT... as for the properties of the differing species of any given genera there really is not all that much difference between the general characteristics. One has got to get into the chemistry of these plants to really find any major differences. Ironically there are more major differences between the male and female plants of many species than there are between differing species of, in some cases, entire orders. One classical and well known example is the plant Cannabis sativa. The psychoactive properties of the plant are almost totally found in the female plant; very little is found in the males. Another vivid example is the opium poppy, Papaver somniferum. The opiate properties for which much of medical interests are concerned lies entirely within the exudant from the injured hip of the flower and is absent from the remainder of the plant. The opium poppy is not the only opium producing poppy, however. It is simply a matter of there being so small an amount of this substance in the other poppies that it is, for all practical purposes, unrecoverable. At the other end of the spectrum are the members of the pea family. Beans, peas, lentils, etc.; where would the human diet be without them? YET, the most deadly plant substance known to mankind is one of the principal constituents of the Rosary Pea, Abrus precatorius Linnaeus. One small seed, weighing very close to 2.1875 (that's just a hint over .002 oz.) can kill a full-grown, healthy human being in a very painful and heinous manner; the symptoms of Abrus poisoning are severe stomach pain, nausea, diarrhea, coma, circulatory collapse, and death. This "pea" from India is now so widespread and well naturalized and acclimated as to be considered as tropically pandemic and irradicable. I live in Bradenton, FL and can show you over a thousand individual plants within a mile of my home. The irony is that some people still make rosaries out of them.

    So, does location make any difference? Yes. No. Maybe. Huh? As for the Beauty Berry, it is a relatively small genus; GRIN only lists 37 species (including subspecies). The plant of our particular interest here, Callicarpa bodinieri H. Lév. var. giraldii (Hesse ex Rehder) Rehder; "Profusion," is a cultivar of a Chinese native (That's most likely the reason I was unfamiliar with it). What does that mean to me? It occurs endemically in sixteen of the temperate provences of China; it is therefore a widespread plant adaptable to many habitats. C. americana is endemic to the US southeast (temperate), essentially south of the line from Maryland to Oklahoma and south to Texas. A quick study of these two endemic regions show many similarities so it is reasonable to make assumptions as to conditions prevalent within them being similar as well. Thus, one would be safe in postulating that there are the approximate same range of similarities within the chemistry of the two species. As members of the same genera they are alomost certainly going to be found to have differing amounts of the same constituents, especially the essential oils and alkaloids, and as such will either meet the "herbalists'" criteria or fail. The Physiomedical Dispensatory, William Cook, M.D., 1869, states: The bark [of C. americana] is an aromatic bitter, with mild tonic properties. It is rather grateful to the stomach, and promises to be a useful remedy. The leaves act upon the kidneys rather freely [this too the goofy little redneck can personally vouch for... like a racehourse, to be sure!]. Whether C. bodinerie offers the same potential I cannot say. I have not found reference to it in the Chinese herbals thus far. I would suspect, however, that it does.

    What makes the difference lies primarily in one or both of two singular factors... soil compostion and water, pH entirely withstanding. The one affects the other and a balance is struck. The pH, however, dictates the range of nutrients most likely to be present or absent in the particular location. Thus, one may find that two plants of the same species from the same meadow, for instance, have differing quantities of the same constituents over some usually small but occasionally quite large range. In our plants we will take the average of the fluctuating ranges and say that they are either remarkably similar or remarkably different. From all that has herein been said I think I can safely predict that as far as the differences between C. bodinerie and C. americana are concerned, it is going to be a toss-up as to which will pucker your puss the quickest, the nastiest, and the most memorable, location notwithstanding.
     

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