Sunday, May 03, 2020

What’s Coming Up In The Garden, 40: American beautyberry

Since I pointed it out in the last featured plant post, I’ll go ahead and feature the American beautyberry today. It’s a striking plant when the berries form! I read today that the foliage is loved by whitetail deer, so keep that in mind if you plant it. Our beautyberry is inside our fenced farm, and since we put up the 3-board with woven wire fencing, the deer are no longer coming onto the main area of the farm. Some days I miss them, but they are still in Arcadia and move daily along our fence lines, so still very much present.

Right now the beautyberry is blending in with its neighbor, the buttonbush, but once it comes out all the way and especially when both are blooming, the difference is very clear. The berries the beautyberry forms are an extravagant deep fuchsia that really pops in the garden.

Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry )
Leander, Bruce 

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana L.

American Beautyberry , French Mulberry

Verbenaceae (Verbena Family)

Synonym(s): Callicarpa americana var. lactea

USDA Symbol: caam2

USDA Native Status: L48 (N)

American beauty-berry most often grows 3-5 ft. tall and usually just as wide, It can reach 9 ft. in height in favorable soil and moisture conditions. It has long, arching branches and yellow-green fall foliage, but its most striking feature is the clusters of glossy, iridescent-purple fruit (sometimes white) which hug the branches at leaf axils in the fall and winter. Bark light brown on the older wood, reddish brown on younger wood. Bark smooth, with elongate, raised corky areas (lenticels); twigs round to 4 sided, covered with branched hairs visible under a l0x hand lens. Leaves in pairs or in threes, blades half as wide as long and up to 9 inches long, ovate to elliptic, pointed or blunt at the tip and tapered to the base; margins coarsely toothed except toward the base and near the tip, teeth pointed or rounded; lower surface of young leaves covered with branched hairs. Flowers small, pink, in dense clusters at the bases of the leaves, clusters usually not exceeding the leaf petioles. Fruit distinctly colored, rose pink or lavender pink, berrylike, about 1/4 inch long and 3/16 inch wide, in showy clusters, persisting after the leaves have fallen. 
The seeds and berries are important foods for many species of birds, particularly the Northern Bobwhite. Foliage is a favorite of White-tailed Deer.


Grey Horse Matters said...

Should be pretty when it gets the berries.

billie said...

It’s very striking!