American Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)

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The American beautyberry is a wonderful bush to tall shrub that ripens in the late late Summer to early Fall. Its long stems become covered in large clusters of bright fuchsia berries; you can’t miss them!

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Loving shade and moist soils, beautyberry is usually found in the under-story of pine and oak forests. Many parks and undisturbed areas here in the Brazos valley are home to these large bushes, and in areas where other undergrowth is not too thick, they can really take over.

Raw, the berries are rather bland to slightly astringent, but a source of natural carbohydrates. Made into jelly or dehydrated, however, their subtle flavors are heightened and delicious! As heat is applied to them, the sugars in them fully mature and they lose their astringency and become quite sweet! We’ve actually managed to find a way to make flour out of these amazing berries and due to the sugars in them, and perhaps a natural yeast, they can make beautiful, light, fluffy muffins and cupcakes!

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Beautyberry is a favorite of many different species of songbird, as well as deer and other animals. Combined with its beautiful appearance, it makes a wonderful addition to the garden or around the yard. Being as its such a large, woody bush, the best way to transplant it is by taking a root cutting in the Winter or late Fall, after the first cold snap. By then, all the plant’s energy has been stored back into the roots for the coming Spring and will be ready to sprout out of this cutting into a new plant.

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