2018 Plant of the Year Winner!
GNPS is pleased to announce that the Plant of the Year for 2018 is American beautyberry (Callicarpa americana).
Scientific name: Callicarpa americana
Common name: American beautyberry
Plant type: Shrub
Callicarpa Americana (American beautyberry) is a perennial shrub native to the southeastern US, as well as parts of the West Indies. It will grow in full sun to partial shade, and is highly adaptable to a variety of soil conditions. Its small, tubular flowers are insignificant, except to the butterflies that feed on their nectar in late spring. Its main attraction is its berries. In autumn, round bundles of punk-rock magenta drupes line up like clustered beads encircling gracefully arching, woody stems. The berries are food to at least 40 species of birds, as well as opossums, raccoons, squirrels, and deer. The shrub’s loosely sprawling branches extend up to 10’ tall and 6’ across; however, a more compact shape can be maintained by pruning. Leaves are opposite, large, and ovate to elliptical in shape. Native Americans used the roots, leaves, and branches of American beautyberry for a variety of medicinal purposes, and farmers once treated both their horses and themselves with its crushed leaves to repel mosquitos. It is an excellent plant for mixed shrub borders.
Credits: Text and photos by Valerie Boss.