Beauty Berry

Location


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​​​​​Beauty Berry

Callicarpa americana

  • Common Name: Beauty Berry (other common names: American Beautyberry, French Mulberry, Sourbush, Bunchberry, and American Mulberry).
  • Scientific Name: Callicarpa americana
  • Family Name: Verbenaceae
  • Origin: Native to Florida.
  • Height: 3’ – 8’
  • Width: 4’ – 8’
  • Growth: Moderate – fast growth rate.
  • Zone: 7A - 11
  • Light Needs: Grows in partial shade – partial sun.
  • Salt Tolerance: Moderate - does not like salt in its soil.
  • Soil/PH/Texture: Likes sand, loam and clay soils but it grows easily in a variety of soils.  Acidic – neutral (pH 5.6 – 7.5).
  • Soil Moisture: They are known to grow natively in moist soils.
  • Drought Tolerance: Moderate.
  • Pests/Diseases: No serious pests are normally seen on this plant. No diseases are of major concern. Occasionally a caterpillar may chew on its leaves.
  • Growing Conditions: Low maintenance and great for a naturalized garden. Appears best when massed together. It needs plenty of room unless regular pruning can be provided to control its sprawling nature. It also naturalizes well.
  • Characteristics: The deciduous fuzzy leaves of this plant are light green, simple, fragrant, ovate in shape with a pinnate venation. The flowers bloom in clusters June – August and are lavender in color. The fruit is probably the most beautiful and showy, less than .5”, deep purple - blue, round, persistent, and densely packed and encircling the woody stems. If the berries are not devoured by birds, they will stay on the stems several weeks after the leaves have fallen.
  • Propagation: By seed or softwood cuttings, tip and root division.
  • Wildlife: Attracts birds, butterflies and bees. White-tailed deer love their leaves. More than forty species of songbirds use the fruit that is high in moisture content as an important food source.
  • Facts: In the early 20th century farmers would use the leaves to repel mosquitos on their horses and mules by crushing the leaves and placing them under the animal’s harness. They also used them on themselves for biting bugs including mosquitos, the callicarpenal and intermedeol compounds - are responsible for the repellant. The Native American tribes used the leaves, roots and branches to treat malarial fevers and rheumatism. To treat stomachaches, dizziness and dysentery they used the roots. Furthermore, the berries and roots can be boiled and drank in a liquid to treat colic. In the Greek language, the genus name Callicarpa has the meaning of - callos, “beauty” and carpos, “fruit”. Parts of this plant are poisonous if ingested.
  • Designer Considerations: Used as a foundation plant, for borders, mass plantings, containers or above ground planters.​​