A Natural Beauty: 7 Interesting Facts About American Beautyberry

August 2020

American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) - This deciduous shrub native to the Southeast lives up to its name

- Typically grows four to five feet tall and wide, although it’s been known to reach nine feet.

- Bright purple berries grow around the plant’s stems in plump clusters. The berries put on a brilliant fall-to-winter show.

- Low maintenance, easy-to-grow and a food source for many birds, including robins, cardinals, mockingbirds and woodpeckers.

- Genus name Callicarpa means “beautiful fruit.”

- Roots, leaves and branches were used by various Native American tribes for medicinal purposes to treat malarial fevers, rheumatism, dizziness, stomachaches and dysentery.

- In the early 20th century, farmers would crush the leaves and place them under the harnesses of horses and mules to repel mosquitoes and other biting bugs.

- Though not very palatable raw since they tend to be bitter, they can be cooked and sweetened to make jellies, sauces and wines.