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American Beautyberry Boasts Purple Fruit

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Virtues: We love Callicarpa americana for its loose, arching form covered in rich green foliage that transforms into a greenish yellow in fall. It's best known for the purple berry-like drupes that cluster along its stems in late summer. As its leaves drop in autumn, the bright fruit endures, clinging to the thin, arching light brown stems and attracting birds.


Common name: American beautyberry

Botanical name: Callicarpa americana

Flowers/fruit: Funnel-like, relatively insignificant flowers begin to bloom in late spring through early summer. These develop into vibrant bundles of berry-like drupes that line the branches; these brightly colored fruit can remain into late winter, unless they are eaten by birds.

Foliage: Rich green ovate leaves with coarsely toothed margins fill the lengthy, arching stems. The deciduous foliage changes into a yellowish-green in fall.

Habit: Callicarpa americana has an open habit reaching 3 to 6 feet in height with a similar spread.

Origin: Species native to South/Southeastern regions of the United States.

How to grow Callicarpa americana: American beautyberries thrive in moist soils in full sun to part shade. They are tolerant of clay soil and sandy soil. They need regular water—especially until established. These bird-loving shrubs tolerate heavy pruning and can be pruned almost to the ground once all the berries have fallen in late winter. USDA Zones 6-10.

Image credit: American beautyberry by Melissa McMasters/CC BY 2.0