History of the American Beautyberry
The American beautyberry (Callicarpa Americana) is native to Georgia and grows magnificently in Texas, Florida, and near pinelands and wooded forests.
Native Americans used this beautiful bush as an insect repellent, for their fevers, and to combat stomach problems. Settlers got to know the therapeutic properties of this bush and soon included it in their botanical medical toolbox.
Besides its elegance, the beautyberry is also a valuable food source for wild animals like birds, squirrels, raccoons, foxes, and white-tailed deer. Bees and butterflies highly appreciate the nectar in its flowers.
Wildlife orchards can benefit greatly from a beautyberry. It is easy to grow, is native to southern states, and provides useful berries for deer when other food sources are no longer available.
What Is the American Beautyberry?
The American Beautyberry is a shrub that usually grows to 3-to-5 feet in height and width. It is a deciduous bush that loses its leaves in autumn.
The major interest of the beautyberry is the purple berries it produces, which ripen in late summer and become the focus of many wild animals, including white-tailed deer and turkeys.
How Do I Grow a Beautyberry?
As a relatively drought-resistant bush, the American Beautyberry will thrive in most types of soils as long as they drain well. The beautyberry produces more berries in full sunlight but will happily grow in partial shade.
How Much Maintenance Does the Beautyberry Require?
To add to its benefits, the beautyberry requires very little maintenance. You can prune it if you want a larger berry crop but it will blissfully grow without any pruning. It is generally disease-resistant and adds color to your landscape thanks to the bright splash of the purple berries it carries.
Where Do Beautyberries Grow?
The American Beautyberry is found in pinelands, in the middle of wooded forests, at the edges of swamps, and around coastal woodlands. The beautyberry creates a beautiful thicket where deer like to linger as they feel safe and protected.
Add Beautyberries to Create a Thicket for Your Deer
The beautyberry is so resistant that it’s also called a pioneer plant. When you clear land at the edges of forests and woods, you will notice the beautyberry is the first to pop up to create the thick underbrush that gently leads to the forest. That’s the perfect setting for your white-tailed habitat.
Most trees require years to produce nuts and fruit. You are in luck with the beautyberry: it will start producing berries after the second year.
Do White-Tailed Deer Like the Beautyberry?
Deer like to browse beautyberry bushes, nibbling at the leaves and berries and switching between shrubs and bushes. Deer eat every part of the bush, including their stems, leaves, and berries. They like sweet fruit and berries like apples and pears, so they love the beautyberry’s mildly sweet and spicy berries.
A great benefit of these berries is that they start ripening in August but can stay on the stems until late fall and even early winter in warmer areas. That’s the exact time when acorns, pears, and apples are no longer available. While deer prefer pears and apples, beautyberry berries become a great food choice when first-choice food sources are unavailable, especially in early winter.
Can Humans Eat Beautyberries?
While some think that beautyberries are toxic to humans, this is not the case. When consumed raw, they have a sharp and slightly tart taste that is probably not to most people’s liking. Beautyberries, however, make a wonderful jelly so you can plant a beautyberry in your plot and pick the leftover berries for a delicious homemade jelly.
Choose Wildtree for Your Beautyberries
We like the beautyberry shrub because it is a native plant to the southern states and is an easy bush to grow and maintain. As an added benefit, deer will nibble at the berries and will find safety and protection under the thicket created by beautyberries.