Tuesday, October 26, 2010
White American Beautyberry - Lin Frye
Berries! Berries! Berries! In my garden (and seen at JC Raulston Arboretum), the American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is in its berriest glory!
This perennial, deciduous shrub grows 6'-8', has an 'open look' to it with branches that reach outward and can 'almost droop' when laden with fall fruit. Flowers are small and lilac in color and don't make much of a show, but the berrylike drupes that follow are the show-stoppers! Colors range from white to pinkish to metallic magenta and purple and against the yellowing fall leaves are what seems to sell this plant! While American Beautyberry is native to the southeast US, plantsmen have developed additional varieties that have a large landscape appeal.
Beautyberry prefers open shade (some sunlight, a bit of filtering sun), and is drought-tolerant. Birds of all types seem to enjoy the berries including robin, mockingbird, catbird and brown thrasher. Raccoon and deer have also been known to enjoy the fruit.
There is conflcting information about the edibility of the berries and they are not listed as 'toxic' or 'poisonous' on the lists I've checked. Some folks I know enjoy making a jelly from the berries - but I've never found the fruit tasty enough to be worth the work! LOL
I have several of these plants on my property -- one produces that incredible brillint violet ... and the other produces white berries. (I am finding some volunteer beautyberry plants - and they seem to be predominantly white-berried.) The white berries from the plantings at the Raulston Arboretum were turning a pinkish purple and I liked that a lot. They certainly caught my eye! LOL
We finally had a bit of rain yesterday and this morning -- and we could use a bit more. Temps are still in the 80s - today's heat about to break a record. But cooler weather is on the way, so we'd better enjoy the warmth while we can!
Have a great day!