Verbenaceae
The Vervain Family
 
 
    The vervain family consists of about 80 genera and nearly 1,200 species of plants, mostly herbaceous.  Probably the best known species of this family is the East Indian teakwood.  Some of the plants that grow in coastal mangroves are members of this family as well.  Attractive foliage and showy flowers characterize many species.
 
 

 Click on the links below for an introduction to a plant of this family:
 
American beautyberry
 
 
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Callicarpa americana
American beautyberry, French-mulberry
 
 

Habit

    The American beautyberry is a shrub, 6-9 feet in height.  Shoot growth occurs throughout much of the season.  It is characterized by its attractive foliage and clusters of flowers or fruit around the leaf nodes.
 

Leaves

    Leaves are simple, opposite or subopposite, and deciduous.  The leaves are 3-5 inches long, 1-3 inches wide, oval-shaped, with an acute apex.  Leaf bases are tapered.  Leaf margins are serrate.  Leaf surfaces are green and usually glabrous above, paler and pubescent below.  Petioles are short and slender.
 

Flowers
 
    The flowers are perfect and in sessile clusters around the leaf nodes.
 

Fruit
 
    Fruit is a 4-pitted lavender-pink, magenta, or violet drupe, about 1/4 inch in diameter.
 

Bark

    Older stems have a protective, thin, light brown bark.
 

Habitat

    The American beautyberry grows in relatively open or closely canopied, well-drained woodlands and their borders, in thickets, fence and hedge rows.  It is found from Maryland south to southern Florida; west to Texas; north to Arkansas and Tennessee; also in Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahaman Island, and western Cuba.
 

Use

    This plant is occasionally used as an ornamental.
 
 

Click on the link below to see more information on and/or images of this tree (use the "Back" function to return here):
 
 
Query the USDA Plant Database
 
 

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