fruit include armadillos, raccoons, wood rats, gray AMERICAN foxes, opossums, and white-tailed deer. The long-lasting fruits provide food for birds and animals well BEAUTYBERRY into the winter months when other food-sources are unavailable. Callicarpa americana L. Plant Symbol = CAAM2 Other: Beautyberry shrubs are raised for their ornamental flowers as well as their colorful clusters Contributed By: USDA NRCS National Plant Data of fruits. Center
Please consult the PLANTS Web site and your State Department of Natural Resources for this plant’s current status (e.g. threatened or endangered species, state noxious status, and wetland indicator values).
General: Vervain Family (Verbenaceae). American beautyberry is a native, perennial shrub. These small, deciduous shrubs reach from 1 to 2 m in height. The leaves are opposite, elliptical to ovate in shape (7 to 15 cm long) and have saw-toothed margins. The ? William S. Justice under-side of the leaves can be covered with white or @ PLANTS rust-colored woolly hairs. The inconspicuous blue, violet, pink, or white flowers are borne in axillary Alternate names
clusters that bloom from late spring to early summer. Beautyberry (Callicarpa means “beautyberry”),
The flowers are funnel-shaped with four clefs. The French mulberry, American mulberry, wild goose’s
round, showy, violet or magenta drupes or fruits are berries
4-5 mm in diameter. The very juicy fruits, containing
from 2 to 4 seeds, begin to ripen in August or Uses
September. These colorful fruits remain on the Ethnobotanic: The roots, leaves and branches of the
shrubs long after the leaves drop. American beautyberry were used by the Alabama,
Choctaw, Creek, Koasati, Seminole and other Native
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult American tribes for various medicinal purposes. The
the Plant Profile page for this species on the roots, leaves and branches were made into a
PLANTS Web site. decoction that was used in sweat baths to treat both
malarial fevers and rheumatism. The boiled plant
Habitat: American beautyberry shrubs occur in dry parts were poured into a big pan that was placed near
open woods, moist woods, thickets and hammocks. the patient inside a sweathouse. A similar decoction
They occur as understudy species in upland pine of the roots was used to treat dizziness and
forests, upper slope pine-oak forests and old-growth stomachaches. The roots of Callicarpa americana
maritime forests. These shrubs are adapted to were boiled with roots from Rubus spp. to make an
climates with hot, humid summers and moderate infusion to treat dysentery. The roots and berries
winters. were boiled and drunk to treat colic. The bark from
the stems and roots was used to treat itchy skin. A
Establishment tea from the root bark was taken to treat urine
These shrubs may be propagated by softwood retention or “urine stopped-up sickness.”
cuttings, but they are primarily grown from seed.
The seeds do not require pretreatment for Wildlife: The fruits of American beautyberry are an
germination. The many volunteers that this plant important food source for many species of birds
produces are very hearty and can be dug up and including bobwhite quails, mockingbirds, robins,
transplanted elsewhere in a more desirable location. towhees, and brown thrashers. Animals that eat the
The plants do well in partial shade and sunny
Plant Materials <http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/>
Plant Fact Sheet/Guide Coordination Page <http://plant-materials.nrcs.usda.gov/intranet/pfs.html>
National Plant Data Center <http://npdc.usda.gov>
locations in well-drained soils. The shrubs have a
denser habit and produce more fruit in sunny Moerman, D.E. 1998. Native American ethnobotany.
locations. Timber Press, Portland, Oregon. 927 pp.
Moerman, D.E. 1999. Native American Ethnobotany Management
This plant can produce abundant volunteers from the Database: Foods, drugs, dyes and fibers of native many seeds that drop to the soil. The flowers are North American peoples. The University of produced on new growth, so prune plants after the Michigan-Dearborn. [Online]. Available: fruits are gone to increase the next year’s growth and http://www.umd.umich.edu/cgi-bin/herb
berry production. The plants can take a hard pruning (19 June 2001)
and may be pruned to the ground level in the winter if
desired. Ottensen, C. 1995. The native plant primer.
Harmony Books, New York, New York. 354 pp.
Cultivars, Improved and Selected Materials (and
Rogers, D.J. & C. Rogers 1991. Woody ornamentals area of origin)
These plant materials are somewhat available from for Deep South gardens. University of West Florida commercial sources. The white-fruited C. Americana Press, Pensacola, Florida. 296 pp. var. lacteal is available from specialty nurseries.
Small, J.K. 1933. Manual of Southeastern flora.
Contact your local Natural Resources Conservation University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, Service (formerly Soil Conservation Service) office North Carolina. 1554 pp.
for more information. Look in the phone book
under ”United States Government”. The Natural Smith, A.I. 1979. A guide to wildflowers of the Mid-Resources Conservation Service will be listed under south. Memphis State University Press, Memphis, the subheading “Department of Agriculture.” Tennessee. 281 pp.
Sturtevant, W.C. 1954. The Mikasuki Seminole: References
Bailey, L.H. & E.Z. Bailey 1976. Hortus Third: A medical beliefs and practices. Doctoral Dissertation, concise dictionary of plants cultivated in the United Yale University. 538 pp.
States and Canada. Simon and Schuster Macmillan
Co., New York, New York. 1290 pp. Swanson, R.E. 1994. A field guide to the trees and
shrubs of the Southern Appalachians. John Hopkins Barbour, M.G., & W.D. Billings, Editors 2000. University Press, Baltimore, Maryland. 399 pp. North American terrestrial vegetation, Second
Edition. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, Swanton, J.R. 2000. Creek religion and medicine.
United Kingdom. 708 pp. University of Nebraska Press, Lincoln, Nebraska.
Chapman, A.W. 1883. Flora of the southern United
States: Flowering plants and ferns. Second Edition. J. Taylor, L.A. 1940. Plants used as curatives by Wilson and Son, Cambridge, Massachusetts. 698 pp. certain Southeastern Tribes. Botanical Museum of
Harvard University, Cambridge, Massachusetts. Dirr, M.A. 1997. Dirr’s hardy trees and shrubs: an 88 pp.
illustrated encyclopedia. Timber Press, Portland,
Oregon. 493 pp. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service,
Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Dirr, M.A. 1998. Manual of woody landscape plants. Laboratory 2001. Fire effects information Fifth Edition. Stipes Publishing, Champaign, Illinois. system, [Online]. Available:
1187 pp. http://www.fs.fed.us/database/feis/. [19 June 2001].
Greene, W.F. & H.L. Blomquist 1953. Flowers of Young, J.A. & C.G. Young 1992. Seeds of woody
the south: Native and exotic. University of North plants in North America. Dioscorides Press, Portland, Carolina Press. Chapel Hill, North Carolina. 208 pp. Oregon. 407 pp.
Martin, A.C., H.S. Zim & A.L. Nelson 1951. Prepared By
American wildlife and plants: A guide to wildlife food Diana L. Immel
habits. Dover Publications, New York. 500 pp. USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center, c/o
Environmental Horticulture Department, University of California, Davis, California
M. Kat Anderson
USDA NRCS National Plant Data Center, c/o Plant Science Department, University of California, Davis, California
Edited: 28sep01 jsp; 29apr03 ahv; 31may06 jsp
For more information about this and other plants, please contact your local NRCS field office or Conservation District, and visit the PLANTS Web site<http://plants.usda.gov> or the Plant Materials Program Web site <http://Plant-Materials.nrcs.usda.gov>
The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) prohibits discrimination in all its programs and activities on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, religion, age, disability, political beliefs, sexual orientation, and marital or family status. (Not all prohibited bases apply to all programs.) Persons with disabilities who require alternative means for communication of program information (Braille, large print, audiotape, etc.) should contact USDA's TARGET Center at 202-720-2600 (voice and TDD).
To file a complaint of discrimination write USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, Room 326-W, Whitten Building, 14th and Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call 202-720-5964 (voice or TDD). USDA is an equal opportunity provider and employer.
Read about Civil Rights at the Natural Resources Convervation Service.