Beautyberry, Callicarpa americana

Also known as American Beautyberry or French Mulberry

A lovely, deciduous shrub with long, gently arching branches of yellow-green leaves. Normally it grows around 3 to 5 feet tall and wide but grows larger (up to 9 feet tall and wide) in favorable conditions. Fast growing, it prefers moist, partly shaded locations and is tolerant of a variety of soils.

Not much troubles this shrub, and if you get caught out without insect repellant, grab a few leaves and rub them on your skin. Manage this quick-growing shrub by cutting down low every year or so.

It leafs out later than most shrubs in spring, and the small lavender flowers are a favorite of honeybees.

The seeds and berries are important foods for many species of birds. Foliage is a favorite of White-tailed Deer. Berries are edible but fairly tasteless on their own, some folks make a tasty jelly from them.

Foliage and fall berries, photo by K. Mulcahy

Spring flowers, photo by K. Mulcahy

Sources:,, various other authoritative resources and personal experience.