American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana) is a major food source for birds in the winter and truly lives up to its name!
This native southern US shrub blooms in early summer and is primarily pollinated by many of our more than 300 native bee species in Florida. The berries last into late winter and are eaten by migrating frugivorous birds. Eaten raw, the berries have an astringent quality, but can be made into jelly.
The plant’s fresh leaves contain the chemical callicarpenal, which is currently being investigated as a potential insect repellant, including for mosquitoes.
Especially due to its striking fruits, beautyberry makes a beautiful addition in the landscape as a deciduous specimen shrub or in a mixed naturalistic screen and attracts a plethora of wildlife. Plant it in half shade and moderately dry soil.
If you are interested in learning more about Florida, visit the Environmental Learning in Vero Beach.