Callicarpa argentii. The bright red fruits are thought to be dispersed by birds. (Photo: George Argent)
Callicarpa argentii Bramley
Recommended IUCN rating of Endangered.
Primary tropical rainforest with some disturbance, at 150 to 400 m above sea level.
About this species
Callicarpa argentii was first collected in 1994 by George Argent, a botanist from the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, during vegetation survey work in Kalimantan, the Indonesian part of the island of Borneo.
It was only recognised as a new species when Callicarpa became the research focus of Dr Gemma Bramley, a botanist in Kew’s Herbarium. Gemma is studying the taxonomy of Callicarpa as part of the Flora Malesiana project, which aims to document and describe the flora of Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Singapore and Brunei Darussalam. She recently published a paper describing the 23 species of Callicarpa on Borneo, four of which were new to science.
Callicarpa is a genus in the mint family (Lamiaceae), but it is more closely related to the important timber tree teak (Tectona L.) than the culinary herbs such as mint and basil for which the family is so well known.