American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

Plant of the Week
December 23, 2006

American Beautyberry   (Callicarpa americana)American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) belongs in the Verbenaceae family. This medium size shrub typically grows in the prosperous woods and thickets of East Texas and especially in the coastal plain pinelands. It has petite, discreet greenish-white flowers in early summer, but they are followed by clusters of gorgeous purple berries attached to the branches in belatedly summer. American beautyberry is most appropriately grown in semi-shaded sites with a little dampness. It can endure full sun if given supplemental irrigation, and can tolerate some drought, but does not do well on lean, rocky soils. Otherwise it is astonishingly tolerant of a variety of soils and habitats. It has elongated, arching branches, and if they are pruned moderately in the winter, it will be superfluous compact. C. americana var. lactea is a white-berried selection that will come exact from seed. The seeds are much loved by many species of birds and other animals, subsequently so as to disappear in a matter of days.

Plant Habit or Use: medium shrub
Exposure: partial sun
Flower Color: greenish white
Blooming Period: summer
Fruit Characteristics: berry-like drupe
Height: 4 to 6 feet
Width: 4 to 6 feet
Plant Character: deciduous
Heat Tolerance: medium
Water Requirements:
Soil Requirements: adapt
USDA Hardiness Zone: 7
Additional Comments: Other common names include Beautyberry, French Mulberry, American Mulberry, Spanish Mulberry, Bermuda Mulberry, Sour-bush, and Sow-berry
Information acquired from Texas Native Plant Database of
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David Rodriguez is the County Extension Agent-Horticulture for Bexar County. He represents Texas Cooperative Extension with the Texas A&M University System. For any landscape or gardening information, call the Bexar County Master Gardeners Hotline at (210) 467-6575, e-mail questions to, or visit our County Extension website at

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