American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) 20

  • $ 7.25

Zone 6-10

Most soils

Part to full sun, full sun requires more care to maintain the moisture it likes. 

American Beautyberry, also known as, American Beautyberry, Beautyberry, French Mulberry, American Beautyberry is one of our 2019 new additions.  We don't ordinarily carry seeds or plants which are not listed as zone 5 or lower.  We specialize in the colder areas of the world.  With temperatures changing, some of the traditional ratings on plants maybe out of step with the zonal maps.  We encourage you to experiment with some higher zone plants for your area, you will likely be surprised. 

Beyond the good looks of this shrub the berries of the American Beautyberry are edible.  Timing is important to harvest and good taste.  The berries should be fully ripe, a dark color but not shriveled.  A spread made from them tastes like a mile elderberry spread.  Tea made from the leaves was made by native Americans. 

This native shrub produces clusters of small white or pink spring flowers that attract butterflies. These give way to green berries that turn brilliant magenta. C. americana var. lactea is white. The berries may linger after the leaves drop in winter.

The ripest berries are those closest to the bush at the base of the branch.  Bend the branch over a shallow bowl, and rub the berry clusters with your fingers. Ripe berries will fall into the bowl. If you pull off a whole clump, remove individual berries from their tiny green stems. Shake the bowl to force any insects that might be hiding among the berries to the edge. While outdoors, slowly fill the bowl with water to force out any remaining bugs. Indoors, rinse the berries in a bowl of clean, cold water 4-6 times and pour through a strainer each time. Let dry or use a salad spinner to dry the berries. 

Their is reliable information that the leaves are as effective an insect repellent as DEET.  Using on clothing, or hanging leaves where you wish to deter mosquitoes is an effective strategy.  As with most plants, be cautious of skin contact without testing for allergy. 

Beautyberry Jelly - 

Harvest and clean 6 cups of beautyberries.

Place berries in large pot on stove.

Add 4 cups water, and boil for 20 minutes. Allow to cool.

Place a cheesecloth-covered sieve over a bowl. Pour the boiled berries through the cheesecloth; mash to get 3 cups juice; add water to make 3 cups, if necessary. Discard any particles that don't go through cheesecloth.

Pour the juice through another sieve without a cheesecloth into a large pot.

Add 1 package Sure Jell pectin and ½ pat butter. Bring to a rolling boil.

Stir in 4½ cups sugar, and bring to a boil for 2 minutes.

Pour into 6 half-pint jars.

Process the jars in boiling water for 5 minutes to sterilize and preserve.

This member of the verbena family can reach 8 or so feet in height and is nearly as wide. The bare branches may be pruned in late winter for a more compact plant.

How to grow:

Sow early in the year and just cover the seed in the trays/pots.  Keep moist by lightly covering with a humidity dome or plastic wrap.  Seeds should germinate in 1-2 months.  If needed, transfer into larger 4"x4" pots until you can grow them out for the first year in a protected area.  Plant in their desired location the spring of their second year.