David Bradshaw: Beauty Berry

 

We wouldn’t want to pay tribute to the Japanese Beauty Berry without acknowledging our own native Callicarpa Americana, the American Beauty Berry. You might find these just out in the woods. There’s a place out in the Issaqueena Forest where the whole hillside is covered by the American Beauty Berry. Really all the Callicarpa’s, there’s quite a collection world wide. I think Callicarpa Americana has the most showy fruits. Now, I’ve picked a portion that has already ripened here and developed good color, but as you can see out near the end of the branches they’re not even colored up yet. That brings us to the point that Callicarpas bloom and produce fruit on this years new growth and so while this is quite large shrub at this point we could gently prune this right down to knee high and it would bloom next year and fruit just as beautifully as it is now. In fact, if we failed to prune this one it will not be quite so colorful next year. It won’t have such large fruit. So all of this growth came out in this one growing season; and to stimulate that good rich vigorous growth with lots of flowers and lots of berries, it needs to be pruned back pretty severely each year to renew and reinvigorate the plant and then you’ll be assured of great clusters of fruit for color and bird food.