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Callicarpa acuminata is often confused with:
Callicarpa americana Callicarpa americana in summer in Moore County
Native alternative(s) for Callicarpa acuminata:
Callicarpa americana Callicarpa americana in summer in Moore County
Viburnum dentatum Viburnum dentatum
Plants that fill a similar niche:
Salix nigra Salix nigra
Acer saccharum subsp. leucoderme  Acer leucoderme
Tilia americana Tilia americana

Mexican Beautyberry Callicarpa acuminata

Other Common Name(s):

Previously known as:

  • Aegiphila minutiflora
  • Callicarpa bonplandiana
  • Callicarpa minutiflora
  • Callicarpa mollis
  • Callicarpa pringlei
  • Callicarpa schlimii
  • Callicarpa subintegerrima
Phonetic Spelling
kal-ee-KAR-puh ah-kew-min-AH-tah
Description

The Mexican Beautyberry is a heat and humidity tolerant deciduous shrub and member of the Lamiaceae or mint family. It is also known as Beautyberry or Black Beautyberry. Its native range is from Mexico to Bolivia and has been introduced in the United States. It is reportedly hardy in the piedmont region of North Carolina. The genus, Callicarpa, is Greek and means beautiful fruit. The species, acuminata, is Latin and means pointed or sharp.

The Mexican Beautyberry has pinkish-lavender blooms during the summer. The fruits are large clusters of dark glossy purplish-black berries from late summer to fall. The fruits may even last through the winter. The tight clump of berries forms a whorl around the stems.  Occasionally white berries have been observed. Its flowers and fruits form on the new wood of the shrub. The leaves are sage green, rough, serrated, hairy, wrinkled, and have pointed tips.  The Mexican Beautyberry is similar to the American Beautyberry except it may be shorter. 

The Mexican Beautyberry is typically disease and pest free. If pruning is needed, it is best done in late winter. It is recommended that old canes be removed for rejuvenation of the shrub. The shrub is also drought tolerant once it is established.

The shrub's berries provide beautiful color in the fall and winter as well as being a good food source for birds. The showy fruits may also be used in floral arrangements. The leaves when crushed produce a chemical that can repel mosquitos. 

See this plant in the following landscape:
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Callicarpa acuminata var. acuminata
    Native from Mexico to Bolivia
  • Callicarpa acuminata var. argutidetata
    Native to Tamaulipas and Honduras
  • Callicarpa acuminata var. pringlei
    Native to easter Mexico, Tamaulipas to Chiapas
  • Callicarpa acuminata 'Woodlanders'
    Raspberry red fruit
Callicarpa acuminata var. acuminata, Callicarpa acuminata var. argutidetata, Callicarpa acuminata var. pringlei, Callicarpa acuminata 'Woodlanders'
Tags:
#bees#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#deciduous shrub#low maintenance#flowering tree#humidity tolerant#butterflies#pollinator garden#birds
 
Cultivars / Varieties:
  • Callicarpa acuminata var. acuminata
    Native from Mexico to Bolivia
  • Callicarpa acuminata var. argutidetata
    Native to Tamaulipas and Honduras
  • Callicarpa acuminata var. pringlei
    Native to easter Mexico, Tamaulipas to Chiapas
  • Callicarpa acuminata 'Woodlanders'
    Raspberry red fruit
Callicarpa acuminata var. acuminata, Callicarpa acuminata var. argutidetata, Callicarpa acuminata var. pringlei, Callicarpa acuminata 'Woodlanders'
Tags:
#bees#heat tolerant#drought tolerant#deciduous shrub#low maintenance#flowering tree#humidity tolerant#butterflies#pollinator garden#birds
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Callicarpa
    Species:
    acuminata
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Uses (Ethnobotany):
    The crushed leaves of the Callicarpa produce a chemical, and the scent of this chemical repels mosquitos. The Department of Agriculture has formulated and patented the product as a mosquito repellant. Herbal doctors of Mexico have prescribed tea made from Callicarpa's crushed leaves for the treatment of vomiting and diarrhea.
    Life Cycle:
    Perennial
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Division
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Native to Mexico to Bolivia
    Distribution:
    Belize, Bolivia, Columbia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico Gulf, Mexico Northeast, Mexico Southeast, Mexico Southwest, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, United States--FL, NC, NY, and Texas, Venezuela
    Wildlife Value:
    The berries attract bees, birds, and butterflies.
    Play Value:
    Attracts Pollinators
    Wildlife Food Source
    Dimensions:
    Height: 4 ft. 0 in. - 5 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 5 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Shrub
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Erect
    Growth Rate:
    Rapid
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    Dappled Sunlight (Shade through upper canopy all day)
    Full sun (6 or more hours of direct sunlight a day)
    Partial Shade (Direct sunlight only part of the day, 2-6 hours)
    Soil Texture:
    Clay
    Sand
    Soil pH:
    Acid (<6.0)
    Alkaline (>8.0)
    Neutral (6.0-8.0)
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Dry
    Available Space To Plant:
    6-feet-12 feet
    NC Region:
    Piedmont
    USDA Plant Hardiness Zone:
    8b, 8a, 9b, 9a, 10b, 10a
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Black
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    The fruits are large clusters of dark shiny purplish-black berries that develop a whorl around the arching stems of the shrub. The cluster is a tight clump of berries. Each berry measures about 3/16 to 1/4 inch in diameter and resembles blackberries. The fruits are produced on new wood of the shrub. Occasionally specimens have been found to have white berries. The fruits appear late summer into fall. They may last through winter and are food for birds.
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    White
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Spring
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers appear in the late spring to summer on the new wood of the shrub. The blooms are pinkish-lavender to pale lilac and develop on each leaf axil. The flower measures 1/8 to 1/4, and it appears in clusters measuring approximately 2 inches wide.
  • Leaves:
    Woody Plant Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Leaf Feel:
    Rough
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Leaf Shape:
    Elliptical
    Ovate
    Leaf Margin:
    Serrate
    Hairs Present:
    Yes
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
    Leaf Width:
    1-3 inches
    Leaf Description:
    The leaves appear on long arching branches. They are sage green in color, and the undersides of the leaf are a paler color. They measure up to 6 inches long and are up to 2 inches wide. The leaves are simple, opposite, rough, wrinkled, and ovate to elliptical in shape. The tips of the leaves are pointed, and the base is tapered. They have tiny star-shaped stellate hairs on the surface of the leaf. The margins are coarsely toothed or serrated.
  • Stem:
    Stem Color:
    Brown/Copper
    Green
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
    Stem Form:
    Straight
    Stem Surface:
    Hairy (pubescent)
    Stem Description:
    The stems on young plants are slightly fuzzy and greenish-brown in color.
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Woodland
    Landscape Theme:
    Butterfly Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Shade Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Border
    Flowering Tree
    Understory Tree
    Attracts:
    Bees
    Butterflies
    Pollinators
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Drought
    Heat
    Humidity