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Beautyberry Callicarpa americana

Other Common Name(s):

Phonetic Spelling
kal-ih-KAR-pah a-mer-ih-KAY-nah
Description

American Beautyberry or French Mulberry

This drought-tolerant native deciduous shrub in the Lamiaceae family may reach heights of 8 feet but typically grows to 4 feet. It grows best in full sun but will tolerate some shade, though there will be a reduction in flower and fruit production.  It tolerates wet planting sites but prefers well-drained soil.

The real beauty of this plant is the unusual ¼ inch purple fruit that surrounds the stem in the fall.  The fruit ripens for an extended period of time so as the birds eat some of the fruit there is still more ripening to keep the color.  Cut back severely in late fall to produce the most berries next year.  Flowers and berries appear on new shoots.

Cultivars:
  • C. americana var. lactea
  • C. america var. lectea
Tags:
#deciduous#birds#wildlife plant#showy#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#clay soil#berries#playground#coastal#showy fruits#wet sites#low flammability#white berries#children's garden#fire resistant#purple berries
Cultivars:
  • C. americana var. lactea
  • C. america var. lectea
Tags:
#deciduous#birds#wildlife plant#showy#salt tolerant#low maintenance#winter interest#fall interest#clay soil#berries#playground#coastal#showy fruits#wet sites#low flammability#white berries#children's garden#fire resistant#purple berries
  • Attributes:
    Genus:
    Callicarpa
    Species:
    americana
    Family:
    Lamiaceae
    Life Cycle:
    Woody
    Recommended Propagation Strategy:
    Seed
    Stem Cutting
    Country Or Region Of Origin:
    Southeastern United States
    Fire Risk Rating:
    low flammability
    Wildlife Value:
    Its fruits are eaten by catbirds and other songbirds, small mammals, white-tailed deer, and black bear. It is a very important fall food for migrant songbirds.
    Particularly Resistant To (Insects/Diseases/Other Problems):
    This plant is low maintenance and does not suffer from insect or disease problems. Resistant to fire in landscape.
    Dimensions:
    Height: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
    Width: 3 ft. 0 in. - 6 ft. 0 in.
  • Whole Plant Traits:
    Plant Type:
    Native Plant
    Shrub
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Habit/Form:
    Arching
    Open
    Maintenance:
    Low
    Texture:
    Coarse
  • Cultural Conditions:
    Light:
    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
    High Organic Matter
    Loam (Silt)
    Sand
    Soil Drainage:
    Good Drainage
    Occasionally Wet
    Available Space To Plant:
    3 feet-6 feet
    NC Region:
    Coastal
    Piedmont
    Usda Plant Hardiness Zone:
    6a, 6b, 7a, 7b, 8a, 8b, 9a, 9b, 10a, 10b
  • Fruit:
    Fruit Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Red/Burgundy
    Fruit Value To Gardener:
    Showy
    Display/Harvest Time:
    Fall
    Winter
    Fruit Type:
    Berry
    Fruit Length:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Width:
    < 1 inch
    Fruit Description:
    Clusters of glossy pink-purple to red-violet berries in fall
  • Flowers:
    Flower Color:
    Pink
    Purple/Lavender
    Flower Inflorescence:
    Insignificant
    Flower Bloom Time:
    Summer
    Flower Size:
    < 1 inch
    Flower Description:
    The flowers appear on new growth where the leaves meet the stem, giving them the appearance of surrounding the branch. The light lavender-pink flowers appear June through August to add a little summer color to the landscape.
  • Leaves:
    Leaf Characteristics:
    Deciduous
    Leaf Color:
    Green
    Deciduous Leaf Fall Color:
    Gold/Yellow
    Leaf Type:
    Simple
    Leaf Arrangement:
    Opposite
    Hairs Present:
    No
    Leaf Length:
    3-6 inches
  • Stem:
    Stem Is Aromatic:
    No
  • Landscape:
    Landscape Location:
    Recreational Play Area
    Landscape Theme:
    Children's Garden
    Native Garden
    Pollinator Garden
    Winter Garden
    Design Feature:
    Specimen
    Attracts:
    Songbirds
    Resistance To Challenges:
    Deer
    Salt
    Wet Soil