Fall Beauty

callicarpa with berries

Callicarpa dichotoma

callicarpa purple berriesCallicarpa dichotoma, or Purple Beautyberry,  is a small shrub native to China, Japan, and Korea which is  grown for it’s ornamental purple berries.   The arching branches are covered with clusters of bright fruit in September and October. The Purple Beautyberry at the Botanical Garden is at the edge of the Ericaceous garden, near the firelane. If you walked by this planting  at any other time of year you wouldn’t notice it.  In the spring it gets cut to the ground, as the branches tend to be winter killed here. Growth begins late in the spring.The 2-3 inch elliptical leaves are medium green and the entire plant is quite unremarkable. By mid summer  tiny pink to lilac flowers appear along the branches in the leaf axils. At the end of summer the little white berries are visible, and as they slowly color up, they become a purple like no other color in the garden. Right now it looks great! In addition to the fall show, I’ve read that birds and other wildlife eat the berries. All in all a nice surprise to come across at this time of year.

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