Family • Verbenaceae - Callicarpa formosana Rolfe - BEAUTYBERRY - Zi zhu

Scientific names

Callicarpa formosana Rolfe
Callicarpa americana Blanco
Callicarpa attenuata Walp.
Callicarpa blancoi Rolfe
Callicarpa ovata C. B. Rob.

Other vernacular names

CHINESE: Zi zhu.

Common names

Anadhiu (Ig.) Tigau-tigau (C. Bis.)
Anoyop (Ilk., Ibn.) Tigbabasi (Bik.)
Anoyot (Ilk.) Timbabasi (Tag.)
Atolba (If.) Tubang-dalag (Tag.)
Palis (Tag.) Tubaybasi (Tag.)
Tambalabasi (Tag.) Formosan beautyberry (Engl.)
Tiagau (Tag.) Sour bush (Engl.)
Tigau (Tag., Bik., Bis.)

Palis is a shrub growing 1 to 3 meters high. Younger plant parts are thinly or densely covered with short, stellately arranged, brownish or pale hairs. Leaves are ovate-lanceolate to oblong-lanceolate, 5 to 15 centimeters long, 2.5 to 6 centimeters wide, with a long slender, pointed tip and pointed to blunt blase. Lowers surfaces of the leaves are densely covered with stellate hairs, and with numerous, small, waxy, yellow glands. Cymes are axillary, short-stalked, and 2 to 4 centimeters long. Flowers are pale purplish or lavender, and about 3 millimeters long. Fruit is a berry, fleshy, rounded, pale lavender, and 4 to 5 millimeters in diameter.


Additional Sources and Suggested Readings

(1) LAMIACEAE Callicarpa / Plants For Use

(2) Chemical Constituents and Antioxidant Activity of the Essential Oils from the Leaves of Callicarpa formosana Rolfe / Lin Chao-Zhan, Zhu Chen-chen et al / / CNKI:SUN:RYZB.0.2009-04-016

(3) Scientists Confirm Folk Remedy Repels Mosquitoes / University Of Mississippi (2006, July 3) / ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 19, 2014, from­ /releases/2006/07/060703091932.htm

(4) Callicarpenal and Intermedeol: Two Natural Arthropod Feeding Deterrent and Repellent Compounds Identified from the Southern Folk Remedy Plant, Callicarpa americana / Charles L. Cantrell* and Jerome A. Klun / © 2011 American Chemical Society / In Recent Developments in Invertebrate Repellents; Paluch, G., et al.; ACS Symposium Series; American Chemical Society: Washington, DC, 2011.

– Throughout the Philippines in thickets and secondary forests at low and medium altitudes.
– Sometimes cultivated as an ornamental.
– Also in China, Taiwan, and Japan.


– Ethanol extract yielded four new iridoid glycosides, 6-O -benzoylphlorigidoside B, 6-O-trans-cinna- moylphlorigidoside B, 6-O-trans-p-coumaroylshanzhiside methyl ester, and 4′- O-trans-p-coumaroylmussaenoside together with known constituents, 6b-hydroxyipolamiide and phlorigidoside B, in addition to five known clerodane diterpenoids, hardwickiic acid, monomethyl kola- vate, echinophyllin C, clerodermic acid methyl ester, and 15,16-dihydro-15-methoxy-16-oxo- hardwickiic acid.
– Study of fresh leaves yielded two new naturally occurring flavonoids, 3,4′,5,7-tetramethoxyflavone and 3,3′,4′,5,7-pentamethoxyflavone, along with known compounds, 5-hydroxy-3,4′,7-trimethoxyflavone, 5-hydroxy-3,3′,4,7-tetramethoxyflavone, ursolic acid, 2α,3α-dihydroxyurs-12-en-28-oic acid, phytosterols, and phytosteryl glucosides.

– Insecticidal, repellent, antioxidant.

Parts used


– Leaves are smoked like stramonium to combat dyspnea.
– Fresh and crushed leaves are used to stupefy fish.
– Used as insecticide.
– In Taiwanese folk medicine, used to treat rheumatism and disorders of the digestive tract (oral infections and various stomach and intestinal complaints).

Study Findings
• Essential Oils / Antioxidant: Study of essential oil from the leaves of C. formosana yielded 48 constituents. Main components were (-) spathulenol (20.3%), ß-caryophyllene (17.22%), germacrene D (8.06%), ß-eudesmene (5.52%). The tested oils at three concentrations displayed scavenging ability of radical DPPH in a concentration-effect relationship.
• New Iridoid Glycosides: Ethanol extract yielded four new iridoid glycosides.
• Repellent: Study of Callicarpa americana yielded three repellent chemicals: callicarpenal, intermedeol, and spathulenol. The chemicals exhibited repellent activities against mosquitoes known to transmit yellow fever and malaria.
• Callicarpenal and Intermedeol / Repellant: Studies have shown callicarpenal and intermedeol to have significant bite-deterring activity against Aedes aegypti and Anopheles stephensi. Study evaluated the compounds for repellent activity against host-seeking nymphs of the blacklegged tick, Ixodes scapularis (a vector for Lyme disease) and Amblyomma cajennense (Rocky Mountain spotted fever), and A. americanum (vector for erlichiosis). Results showed both compounds showed more effective repellent activity than DEET against both mosquito species.