It’s the Berries

“It’s the Berries”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana

Purple!  I mean shocking, I can’t believe it is not fake, nothing in nature is that color purple.  That was my first reaction to seeing American Beautyberry.  I didn’t know what it was, but I knew I wanted it.  It was growing in my neighbor’s yard, and my dad was the one who told me what it was, except he called it French mulberry, a name from his childhood.  After looking it up in garden books, I found out that is another common name for this plant.  Luckily, the birds spread this shrub to my yard, and now I have several and have even shared some with friends and relatives. 


For most of the year, this shrub is easily ignored.  It is deciduous, so in winter, there is no interest – no architectual form, no exfoliating bark.  In spring tiny pink flowers appear, but they are so small that you have to be very near to even see them.  There is not even a fragrance to attract you to them.  Soon, small green clusters of berries appear, but they blend in with the leaves, so they are not very noticible.  



But it is in late summer, early fall that this shrub becomes a star in the garden.  The berries turn a vibrant shade of purple that cannot be ignored.  The birds love the berries in winter which is one of the reasons that one was able to grow in my garden from my neighbor’s yard.  So for a show-stopping purple display American Beauty Berry can’t be topped.












  1. Nancy Bond said,

    August 8, 2008 at 10:03 pm

    Wow, that truly is purple! I’m told the birds love them and that a jelly can be made from them as well…what a gorgeous color that would be!

  2. deb said,

    August 8, 2008 at 11:33 pm

    Beauty berry is one of my all time favorites for a dry shade garden. Great post.

  3. Jan said,

    August 9, 2008 at 4:35 am

    Hi, Nancy. I thought that the berries were poisonous, but I may be mistaken. The berries’ color is gorgeous, esp. when you have a large bush. Since this will grow in partial shade, the berries brighten up the area.

    Thanks, Deb. The color is just starting to show up, and I will post another photo when all the berries have changed color.

  4. Alexandra said,

    August 9, 2008 at 7:03 am

    You are right…they are show-stopping. wow!

  5. August 9, 2008 at 10:58 am

    That is plant on my wishlist, I love the fact that it attracts birds with the edible berries. Wonderful shade of purple too!

  6. Jan said,

    August 9, 2008 at 3:55 pm

    Thanks for stopping by, Alexandra.

    Perennialgardenlover, if you can find this plant it will make a great addition to your native plants.

  7. Brenda Kula said,

    August 9, 2008 at 6:04 pm

    I think I remember those from childhood myself. Wonderful colors!

  8. Jan said,

    August 9, 2008 at 8:34 pm

    Brenda, I know these have been in the South forever, but I don’t remember seeing them when I was a child. Because of the intense color, I know I would have remembered them. Beautyberries are great plants.

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