Callicarpa comes from two Greek words (callos meaning beauty and carpos, fruits), discussing the most distinguishing feature of these shrubs. The rounded drupes, made up of approximately 25 to 30 small purple berries that develop from each leaf axil, have been referred to as iridescent, metallic, and jewel-like. You can find about 140 types of Callicarpa worldwide.
This genus of shrubs and small trees and shrubs is within the family Verbenaceae. In america, there are four species that are typically planted: one local to the southeastern USA and three non-native Asian types. Below is a summary of the four frequently grown up varieties. Callicarpa americana, American Beautyberry known as French mulberry also, sourbush, bunchberry, or purple beauty-berry. This native species grows from Southeast Maryland to Arkansas and south to the West Indies and Mexico. This species from China has a looser, more open growth habit. Dirr rates this species from China and Japan as his favorite because it is the most “refined” and small of the beautyberries.
He praises it because of its “graceful, arching, and dispersing habit.” This varieties shall prosper completely sunlight and any well-drained soil. This shrub grows larger and more open than C. dichotoma, but also has arching branches. These deciduous shrubs have slender, opposite, elliptical to ovate-shaped light green leaves with saw-toothed edges. Small lavender to pink blossoms show up at each leaf axil in the springtime, followed by limited clusters of green berries that consider shiny crimson in the winter and fall. Some cultivars have white berries. The stems are slender and create a lovely weeping effect as they mature, under the weight of the maturing berries especially. Following the leaves fall, the berries will remain on the stems into winter.
Calllicarpa can be grown up from seed by collecting ripe berries and growing them in pots the first season, before planting them in the garden the following autumn. However, the plant life do reseed themselves, and the seed can be spread by animals. I have observed two “volunteer” plants in my garden. As noted above, these shrubs are tolerant of a range of growing conditions from incomplete tone to full-sun.
The native UNITED STATES species will be the most tolerant of color. While Callicarpa should be grown up in loose well-drained garden soil ideally, they shall adapt to a range of dirt conditions. In addition they are tolerant of drought though they may drop their leaves and berries in extreme drought conditions. Our plants have fared well in this summer’s heat by using our in-ground irrigation system. These plants should get a lot of room in the scenery, as they are doing spread out over time. While an individual shrub can be planted in a combined border, massing several vegetation collectively creates a cascading effect. Beautyberries respond well to pruning, as they flower on new growth each spring.
The shrubs can be cut back to about six ins in the late winter or early spring, or they can be pruned using a thinning-out method, every year when the plants are dormant cutting one third of the oldest canes. Both methods will control the size and form of the shrubs. We pruned our shrubs for the very first time in the first spring, using the thinning-out approach to pruning.
The shrubs filled out and are thriving beautifully. There are several benefits to growing this shrub, whatever the variety you choose. It really is disease and pest free relatively. It shall grow in a number of conditions from full sun to light shade, and it tolerates a variety of soils as well as drought.
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It is also deer resistant and food for animals in the wintertime when food is scarce. The ripe berries are a source of food for most parrots, raccoons, opossums, and small rodents. The eye-catching crimson berries are a delight in the fall and winter scenery. Based on the USDA Plant Fact Sheet, Native American tribes used the roots, leaves, and branches of C.americana to take care of a number of health problems including malaria, rheumatism, dizziness, stomachaches, and dysentery.
It was also known as a folk treatment for repelling mosquitoes and other biting bugs. Farmers used to crush the leaves and put them under the harnesses on horses and mules as well as rubbing the smashed leaves on themselves to repel insects. As it happens that folk remedy has a technological basis. Studies conducted by the Agricultural Research Service discovered that the leaves contain two compounds, callicarpenal and intermedeol, that repel mosquitoes and other pests.