I love Callicarpa– I first discovered it used in a wreath that I bought many years ago. The berries are so beautiful, I thought they were fake until I discovered the real plant. The wreath disintegrated after a couple seasons, and I would love to find another. Let me know if you know of one.
Wikipedia describes Callicarpa americana:
American beautyberry or Callicarpa americana has been found to be a natural insect repellent. Four chemicals have been isolated that appear to be the active ingredients; borneol, callicarpenal, intermedeol, and spathulenol. It has found to be repellant to the mosquitoes which carry yellow fever and malaria, as well as the tick which carries Lyme disease. The discovery and use of callicarpenal has been patented by the United States Department of Agriculture Agriculture Research Service. It has also been used to produce wine.
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Callicarpa is such a favorite that I used it as the basis for Greayer Design Associates latest print advertisement. Check it out and let me know what you think.