A closer view of American beautyberry fruit
Callicarpa americana is commonly called American beautyberry because of its clusters of little magenta fruits, many of which embellished the last post. On October 23rd, two weeks before the Arkansas trip, I’d made this closeup of clusters (count them as 2+ or 3-) along Bull Creek in northwestern Austin. The bunch near the center of the photograph was illuminated by a shaft of sunlight, so its colors are a little brighter than those of the other bunches.
According to the revised edition of Texas Wildflowers: “Many birds feed on the berries and will contend with each other to include a bush in their feeding area.” People, on the other hand, may admire the fruits for their colors and use leafless branches of them in cut-plant decorations, but can’t eat them. (UPDATE: you’ll find a revision of that last statement in my reply to a question from Jim, below.)
To see the varied places in the southeastern United States where American beautyberry grows, you can check the state-clickable map at the USDA website.
© 2013 Steven Schwartzman