Gardening @ Turtle Creek, Non - Food
Leave a comment

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.

bb

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

WP_20141007_13_50_45_Pro [small]

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.

WP_20141007_13_51_20_Pro [small]

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.

WP_20141011_18_30_48_Pro

 

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

0 Comments

  1. Melinda says

    Dad gave me one when I had the house and it had the purple and also white berries on it.

    • I think there is still a mixed white and purple at the clumble of out of hand rootings at the shop – come grab one when you visit next month

Comment Fodder... pile on