Say hello to Callicarpa… otherwise known as American Beauty Berry or French Mulberry. She’s a deciduous woody shrub in the Dead Nettle, or (Lamiaceae) family.
Blooming in Early summer with rather non-descriptive flowers, the Beauty Berry show begins with – what else – the berries.
Beginning in Late September, the berries begin to swell and gradually turn from milky green to violent purple.
Although the berries are considered edible, the severe astringent nature of the fruit makes them unappetizing to birds and other animals – so typically you can count on the show continuing well into November.
Even with the astringent berries, the fruit can be made into wine and jellies (sometimes referred to as “Autumn Berry Jam”), which can be a slightly grainy but flavorful preserve.
However tasty the berries may or may not be, the Beauty Berry Shrub is best known as a mosquito repellent. Long used as a folk remedy for pesky insects, there are four chemicals in the shrub that have been established as an insect deterrent and two have been patented by the USDA.
Fruiting Time: September to October
Description: Purple to Lavender to Pink – Glossy, Metallic, lacquered Berry Clusters
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Maintenance: Low – Light Fall pruning after the berries have fallen to remove stray branches and dead wood
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Clay Soil but will grown in most soil conditions