Purple Beautyberry – Identification

Q: Can you please tell me the name of this plant? It’s growing off Lindberg Drive, near Peachtree Creek. It has these beautiful purple berries even now. I think it’s a good one for color in the fall.

A: You have an American beautyberry, Callicarpa americana. There are both native and Asian species.

My friend Theresa Schrum says the best way to tell them apart is that American beautyberry berries are clustered tightly around the leaf nodes on the branches.

Non-native beautyberries have the berries on short petioles away from the stem and their berries are also usually smaller and more blue than the native

The shrubs can grow pretty big. The arching branches extend five feet high and six feet wide in my garden. The berries are excellent for fall and winter color! But by spring, hungry birds will have eaten every last one.

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