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Small Back Yard
Photo Credit: www.BackyardGarden.info
American Beauty Berry Bush
American Beauty Berry (callicarpa americana) also known as French Mulberry,
is a medium sized deciduous shrub native to and growing wild in the south eastern
United States. It can be cultivated and used in plant hardiness zones 5 to 10.
The most outstanding of its features are the shiny berries which appear in clusters
all along the stems of new wood. Colors range from violet to a deep purple and have
an almost metallic appearance. There is also a more rare white variety which
produces drupes of pure white berries.
Fruit starts to form soon after the appearance of hundreds of delicate violet
blossoms in the spring. The berries are very juicy and last long after the foliage
drops, persisting into the winter months to provide food for birds and wildlife.
The foliage is of a pleasant medium green shade and the individual leaves are
about 1 x 3 inches and have a soft fuzzy texture, especially on the underside.
The plant does best in a moist, enriched, well-drained soil, but is really not
particular and will grow most anywhere out of direct sunlight, even with neglect.
It is a fast vigorous grower, usually with multiple stems arising from the ground,
and can reach 10 feet or more in height.
Beauty Berry likes partial sun, but will also grow and produce an abundance of fruit in
partial shade. It is easily propagated from seeds or softwood cuttings. In fact,
you will find many volunteer seedlings around a mature plant which will readily
transplant and flourish in another location.
Mockingbirds, robins and other birds are attracted by and will eat the berries.
The fruit is also a source of food and sought after by armadillos, raccoons,
opossums, deer and other wildlife.
If you have a little wooded area and some room, consider this very attractive and
beneficial ornamental shrub for beauty and a natural supply of food for the
critters in your backyard garden.