Shrub of the Week: Purple Beauty Berry

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{Photos and text for this bgyl-alert are provided by Joe Cochran, the Curator of OSU’s Secrest Arboretum at the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center in Wooster.}

 

  The fruits of purple beauty berry  (Callicarpa dichotoma) are among the most splendid of the fall-fruiting shrubs.  On arching branches, small delicate fruits appear to be glossy pearls that have been dipped in a lilac-violet varnish.  Against the light-green foliage their beauty cannot go unnoticed.  Growing 4-5 ft. with a slightly larger spread, the tips often reach to the ground. A native to China, Korea and Japan, it also offers a pleasing yellow fall color.

 

Purple beuty berry fruits close-up

 

beautyberry plant

 

  Grown in full sun or part shade, the best effect is obtained in mass plantings. Hardy to Zone 5, it can easily be treated as a cut-back shrub and will reward the gardener with an abundance of new growth by early summer.

 

  There are many cultivars including ‘Duet’, a variegated cultivar released by USDA in 2006. It offers medium-green foliage with creamy-white margins and white fruit.

 

Duet beautyberry plant

 

  Related species include Callicarpa japonica, C. bodinier, both from Asia, and a southeastern U.S. native C. americana, that includes white and pink flower types.