Saturday, October 4, 2014

Beauty Berry...and WOW ..YOU CAN GROW THAT!

Callicarpa Americana ...Callicarpa japonica.......I have to catch my breath after uttering these words.  This shrub takes my breath away every time I see it in it's autumn splendor.


Used by Native American Indians for medicinal purposes, this native shrub has an interesting history.  Multiple parts of this shrub were boiled and used in sweat baths to treat rheumatism, colic, itchy skin,certain types of malaria and numerous other diseases.  Many birds and animals also cherish the stem, leaves and berries as a food source. We tend to appreciate Beautyberry shrubs for their ornamental flowers in the Spring and the fruit clusters in the fall.  It is a beautiful way to remember fall, while providing food for wildlife during the winter months.  

Callicarpa usually ranges from about 3 - 6 feet in height, but can take a heavy pruning in late winter to control its growth.It blooms from late spring to early summer with pinkish or violet blossom that are inconspicuously held in clusters along the stem.  The difference between the two species is mostly in the branching.  The Americana holds its fruit on long stems away from the main branch.  Japonica or the Japanese Callicarpa has long skinny leafed, weeping branches and the fruit is held in clusters all along the stem.  To some, these shrubs also have an aromatic hay like scent. This makes it a phenomenal statement in the landscape.

Mostly found in thickets from Maryland to Florida.  It loves dry, open wooded areas and is adaptable to humid summers and moderate winters.  

Japonica - narrow leaves and weeping form

Callicarpa Americana - larger berries and longer branches...simply stunning in the landscape!!

Callicarpa is a wonderful shrub to invite into your garden.....YOU CAN GROW THAT!!!

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