Thursday, November 1, 2012

American Beautyberry | Callicarpa Americana


American Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana is a native shrub of the Southern United States which is often grown as an ornamental in gardens and yards. American beautyberries produce large clusters of purple berries.

Years ago at the southwest exposure, we planted Asian jasmine as a ground cover in the retaining wall. Along with ground cover we planted several Texas sage along the west exposure of the house. Crape myrtle, tam juniper, bridalwreath spirea, and nandinas were planted with a southern exposure.  The crape myrtle is mature and is lovely and has become overshadowed by a beautiful red oak. The oak alleviates the long afternoon heat from the southern facing in the summer and after the leaves drop in the fall this deciduous tree allows the rays of the winter sun to flow through the branches and provide solar heat. 

 Last year, during the Texas 2011 drought, I experimented with a planting of beautyberry to increase our use of Texas natives.  

The beautyberry is doing well this year and the dramatic purple berries are living up to the name.  

Beautyberries are possibly best used in a naturalized setting. I have included a White berried beautyberry (Callicarpa american var. lactea) in a corner of the backyard, underneath native oaks. 

           The mature purple berries feed cardinals and finches, and the shrub offers a protective site.                                                                                                 

Lamiaceae (mint) Family
American beautyberry, Callicarpa Americana
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