Botanical Name: Callicarpa americana and Callicarpa americana var. lactea
Common Name: Purple Beautyberry, White Beautyberry, Beautyberry, American Beautyberry, French Mulberry, American Mulberry, Spanish Mulberry, Bermuda Mulberry, Sour-bush, Sow-berry
Description: Oh my soul, this native, deciduous, perennial shrub is beautiful! American beautyberry is a woody shrub found in pinelands and hammocks throughout Florida. It has small, white flowers in early summer, that are followed by clusters of beautiful purple or white berries clinging to the branches in late summer. It is best suited to semi-shaded sites with some moisture. It can tolerate full sun if given supplemental watering, and can tolerate some drought, but does not do well on thin, rocky soils. Otherwise it is remarkably tolerant of various soils and habitats. It has long, arching branches, and if they are pruned by half in the winter it will be more compact, but will quickly grow 4-6′ tall and wide. The seeds are a favorite of many species of birds and other wildlife so much so that they can disappear in a matter of days. Foliage is a favorite of White-tailed Deer. Host plant for the Spring Azure butterfly and Snowberry Clearwing moth.
Callicarpa americana is the purple-berried species.
C. americana var. lactea is a white-berried species.
Plant Lore: The leaves contain a chemical (callicarpenal) that may repel mosquitoes. Gently crush the leaf and rub the upper surface against the skin to release the chemical. Native American used Beautyberry root and leaf tea in sweat baths for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria. Root tea used for dysentery, stomach aches. Root and berry tea used for colic. Beautyberry jelly is quite tasty.
Not salt tolerant of inundation by salty or brackish water. Some tolerance to salty wind but not direct salt spray.
This plant in 1-gallon containers is 1-1.5′ tall.
This plant in 3-gallon containers is 2-3′ tall.
This plant in 7-gallon containers is 4-6′ tall.
Florida Hardiness Zones 8 – 10