Callicarpa is composed of ≈140 species found in Asia, Africa, Australia, and North and South America; however, most species are distributed in tropical and subtropical Asia (Shou-liang and Gilbert, 1994). Centers of diversity have been identified as the Philippine Islands for Old World species and Cuba for New World species, the former comprising a much larger group (Moldenke, 1936). Callicarpa was previously placed in the Verbenaceae; however, it was recently transferred into Lamiaceae along with several other genera (Cantino, 1992; Harley et al., 2004). Most species are shrubs, but there are also tree and subscandent members of the genus (Moldenke, 1936). Leaves are typically decussate with axillary inflorescences that are most often cymose (Bramley, 2009; Moldenke, 1936). Beautyberries, as they are commonly referred, are grown primarily for their showy berry-like drupes produced in fall. However, species have been found to contain a number of compounds that have allelochemical activity (Cruz-Ortega et al., 2002), mosquito repellent properties (Cantrell et al., 2005), and act as cyanobactericides (Tellez et al., 2000). In addition to landscape use as an ornamental, Callicarpa spp. have been grown for use as cut stems for the florist's trade (Bir and Conner, 1997; Greer and Dole, 2009).
In recent years, there has been an increase in the number of genome size estimates available for both plants and animals (Bennett and Leitch, 2005; Gregory, 2005). For plants, there has been progress in documenting genome sizes for diverse groups (Bennett and Leitch, 2005) and angiosperms, in particular, have received much attention (Bennett and Leitch, 1995, 1997, 2005; Bennett et al., 2000). The Plant DNA C-values Database (Bennett and Leitch, 2005) currently contains data for 5150 species; however, no genome size estimates have been reported for Callicarpa.
Chromosome number has been a useful tool for researchers investigating evolutionary relationships (Guerra, 2008; Levin and Wilson, 1976), particularly at the generic level (Goldblatt, 2007). Chromosome number data complement genome size estimates by allowing calculation of chromosome size, which has been correlated with evolutionary age (Mehra and Bawa, 1972). Knowledge of chromosome number is also a useful tool for breeders (Fehr, 1991). Chromosome numbers can affect inbreeding depression and the potential for introgression of traits through interspecific hybridization, among other factors that can alter breeding strategy (Fehr, 1991). Unfortunately, relative to the number of species in the genus, the cytological information is sparse for Callicarpa.
The first beautyberry chromosome count reported was for C. japonica (2n = 32) by Sugiura (1936), a count that appears to have been incorrectly cited numerous times. In the seminal compilation of Darlington and Wylie (1956), C. japonica is cited from Sugiura's (1936) publication; however, the count was reported as 2n = 16, possibly because the original work cites the chromosome count using the haploid notation (n = 16). Another count attributed to Patermann (1938; see Darlington and Wylie, 1956) for C. japonica (2n = 18) is not included in the bibliography and, therefore, should not be considered reliable. Lewis (1961) cited Darlington and Wylie (1956) and concluded that 2n = 18 was the correct count for C. japonica and also provided the first account for C. americana L. as 2n = 36. Furthermore, he reported that C. americana was a tetraploid (2n = 4x = 36), concluding that x = 9 in Callicarpa. It seems that the erroneous citation of Sugiura's 1936 publication led to confusion regarding the base chromosome number in Callicarpa. Additional reports of chromosome numbers in Callicarpa are summarized in Table 1. Of note is the fact that multiple base chromosome numbers are reported (x = 16, 17, 18). Also, multiple chromosome numbers were reported for C. glabra Koidz. (2n = 32, 34; Ono, 1975), C. macrophylla (2n = 32, 34; Sharma and Mukhopadhyay, 1963), C. subpubescens Hook. & Arn. (2n = 30, 34; Ono, 1975), and C. tomentosa L. (2n = 68, 85; Mehra and Bawa, 1969). These multiple base chromosome numbers indicate that dysploidy is likely present in the genus. Yamazaki (1993) reported chromosome numbers for four species; however, there is no indication regarding how these counts were determined. Species include C. kochiana Makino (2n = 34), C. formosana Rolfe (2n = 36), C. japonica (2n = 32, 36), and C. dichotoma Raeusch. (2n = 36). Similarly, Harley et al. (2004) reported the generic chromosome complement of Callicarpa as 2n = 16 or 18 with no reference, although it is likely that the source was Darlington and Wylie (1956).
Previously reported chromosome numbers in Callicarpa.
There has been a lack of reports in recent years for chromosome numbers of Callicarpa. The Index to Plant Chromosome Numbers online database (Goldblatt and Johnson, 1979) publishes newly reported chromosome counts from 1979 onward and does not contain any counts for Callicarpa. Nearly 50 years ago, Santamour (1965) called for a “critical cyto-taxonomic treatment study of a large number of species [of Callicarpa].” The objective of the current research was to document chromosome number and genome size of Callicarpa species to add to the available information on the genus.
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