Callicarpa americana

Species Native to Missouri
Common Name: beautyberry 
Type: Deciduous shrub
Family: Lamiaceae
Native Range: Southeastern United States
Zone: 6 to 12
Height: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Spread: 3.00 to 6.00 feet
Bloom Time: June to August
Bloom Description: Lavender, pink
Sun: Full sun to part shade
Water: Medium
Maintenance: Medium
Flower: Insignificant
Attracts: Birds
Fruit: Showy
Other: Winter Interest
Tolerate: Drought, Clay Soil


Best grown in evenly moist, well-draining, sandy or clayey soils with plenty of organic matter. Can be grown in nearly any soil type as long as drainage is adequate. Tolerant of some drought once established. Plants may defoliate and fruiting performance may be poor during prolonged periods of hot, summer drought. Best fruiting is in full sun but plants will tolerate light shade. Hardy in Zones 6-12. In the colder end of its hardiness range, this shrub may experience dieback in harsh winters or if planted in an exposed site but it will resprout readily from the base and fruiting should not be affected. Prune in winter to encourage more bushy, compact growth. Plants can be cut as far back as 1' from the base or around 2' less than the desired size. Plants can also be left to take on a more natural form but deadwood should be removed in spring. Propagate from cuttings or seed.

Noteworthy Characteristics

Callicarpa americana, commonly called beautyberry, American beautyberry, or French mulberry, is a deciduous shrub native to forest edges, moist slopes, bluff tops, woodland openings, swamp margins, and fence rows in the southeastern United States, northern Mexico, Bermuda, Cuba, the Bahamas and other islands in the West Indies. Mature plants will reach around 3-5' tall with a similar spread. They have an open growth habit and arching branches. The oppositely arrange, ovate to elliptic foliage has serrated margins and ranges from 2-9" long and 0.75-5" wide. The small, light pink to purple or blue tinged flowers bloom in dense, axillary clusters and develop bright, violet to magenta (rarely white) fruits. The fruits are showy and persistent, ripening around mid-fall, and are eaten by birds, squirrels, and other wildlife.

Genus name comes from Greek meaning beautiful fruit.

Specific epithet means "of the Americas" in reference to the native range of this species.


Beautyberry is relatively disease and pest free. Leaf spots are possible but not usually a serious problem.


The size and loose, open habit of beautyberry makes it best for the back of a shrub border where it may be massed in large landscapes or where it may be naturalized. Beautyberry plants are said to bear more fruit if several are planted together.