Purple Beautyberry

Purple Beautyberry

Purple Beautyberry

Callicarpa dichotoma

The Beautyberry is a genus of shrubs (40+ species) and small trees in the family Laminaceae that is native to east and south Asia, Australia, southeast North America and Central America. Callicarpa is grown for its unusual intensely colored fall fruits. It is a show-stopping shrub covered in thick clusters of magnificent deep purple iridescent berries that extend along caning stems that arch to the ground like forsythia.  It likes full sun, but it will tolerate and do well in light shade. For best berry production it  it should not be fertilized. The shrub  does best when cut to within 6 inches of the ground in early spring.

IMG_0326.jpg

Birds will eat the berries, but only later in the winter when the berries are dried and other food sources have been depleted. The astringent fruit is sometimes made into wine and jelly. American beautyberry has been used as a folk remedy to prevent mosquito bites. Four chemicals isolated from the plant have been  shown to act as insect repellants.

You will find a stand of Beautyberry bushes with their purple fruit along Hillside 1 Path.