The Weekly Wildflower ~ American Beauty Berry

The Weekly Wildflower ~ American Beauty Berry

Say hello to Callicarpa… otherwise known as American Beauty Berry or French Mulberry. She’s a deciduous woody shrub in the Dead Nettle, or  (Lamiaceae) family. WP_20141007_13_50_31_Pro

Blooming in Early summer with rather non-descriptive flowers, the Beauty Berry show begins with – what else – the berries.


Beginning in Late September, the berries begin to swell and gradually turn from milky green to violent purple.

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Although the berries are considered edible, the severe astringent nature of the fruit makes them unappetizing to birds and other animals – so typically you can count on the show continuing well into November.

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Once the berries turn, the leaves transform to a brilliant yellow just before dropping from the branches – leaving you with stark,smooth dark branches and a riot of purple.WP_20141011_18_30_40_Pro

Even with the astringent berries, the fruit can be made into wine and jellies (sometimes referred to as “Autumn Berry Jam”), which can be a slightly grainy but flavorful preserve.

However tasty the berries may or may not be, the Beauty Berry Shrub is best known as a mosquito repellent.  Long used as a folk remedy for pesky insects, there are four chemicals in the shrub that have been established as an insect deterrent and two have been patented by the USDA.



Fruiting Time: September to October

Description: Purple to Lavender to Pink – Glossy, Metallic, lacquered Berry Clusters

Sun: Full sun to part shade

Water: Medium

Maintenance: Low – Light Fall pruning after the berries have fallen to remove stray branches and dead wood

Flower: Insignificant

Attracts: Birds

Fruit: Showy

Other: Winter Interest

Tolerate: Clay Soil but will grown in most soil conditions

Deer Resistant

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