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CALLICARPA americana

Image of Callicarpa americana

Felder Rushing

Family

Verbenaceae

Botanical Name

CALLICARPA americana

Plant Common Name

American Beautyberry

General Description

The arching branches and unusual violet purple berries of American beautyberry are the main selling points of this hardy deciduous shrub. Native to southeastern America from Texas across to Maryland, this interesting wild shrub is similar to Asian beautyberry species but has a rougher, more informal look. Mature specimens are large, bushy and develop either a horizontal or upright habit. Native populations exist in open woods and thickets.

American beautyberry has long arching stems lined with soft pale green leaves that are opposite to one another. The foliage turns muted yellow-green in fall. In midsummer, clusters of lavender-pink flowers appear at the base of the leaf stems. These are followed by berries that turn from green to vivid violet-purple later in the season. Butterflies are attracted to the summer flowers and songbirds eat the fall fruits.

Full sun is preferred but partial shade tolerated--brighter light results in better fruit output and a fuller overall habit. Well-drained clay or sandy soils are suitable for growing this resilient shrub. Beautyberry should never be sheared or harshly pruned as this destroys its appealing arching habit. Plant this trouble free plant in informal, naturalistic garden settings.

Characteristics

  • AHS Heat Zone

    12 - 1

  • USDA Hardiness Zone

    6 - 11

  • Sunset Zone

    3a, 3b, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24

  • Plant Type

    Shrub

  • Sun Exposure

    Full Sun, Partial Sun, Partial Shade

  • Height

    5'-6' / 1.5m - 1.8m

  • Width

    6'-7' / 1.8m - 2.1m

  • Bloom Time

    Early Summer, Summer, Late Summer

  • Native To

    Southeastern United States, South-Central United States

Growing Conditions

  • Soil pH

    Acidic, Neutral

  • Soil Drainage

    Well Drained

  • Soil type

    Clay, Loam, Sand

  • Growth Rate

    Medium

  • Water Requirements

    Drought Tolerant, Average Water

  • Habit

    Arching/Fountain-shaped

  • Seasonal Interest

    Spring, Summer, Fall

Ornamental Features

  • Flower Interest

    Showy

  • Flower Color

    Pink, Lavender

  • Fruit Color

    Purple, Blue Violet

  • Foliage Color (Spring)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Summer)

    Light Green

  • Foliage Color (Fall)

    Yellow Green, Tan

  • Bark Color

    Sandy Brown, Gray

  • Fragrant Flowers

    Yes

  • Fragrant Fruit

    No

  • Fragrant Foliage

    No

  • Bark or Stem Fragrant

    No

  • Flower Petal Number

    Single

  • Repeat Bloomer

    No

  • Showy Fruit

    Yes

  • Edible Fruit

    No

  • Showy Foliage

    No

  • Foliage Texture

    Coarse

  • Foliage Sheen

    Matte

  • Evergreen

    No

  • Showy Bark

    No

Special Characteristics

  • Bark Texture

    Smooth

  • Usage

    Foundation, Mixed Border, Screening / Wind Break

  • Sharp or Has Thorns

    No

  • Invasive

    No

  • Attracts

    Birds, Butterflies

  • Self-Sowing

    Yes