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American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

Copyright by: Adriana Olavarria

General Landscape Uses: Accent flowering shrub in residental and commerical landscapes. Also useful in buffer plantings.

Ecological Restoration Notes: A relatively common shrub of forest edges nearly throughout South Florida.

Availability: Widely cultivated. Available in Lake Worth at Indian Trails Native Nursery (561-641-9488) and in Sarasota at Florida Native Plants Nursery (941-322-1915).

Description: Medium bushy shrub with arching branches forming a large mound. Leaves coarse, 2-6 inches long, aromatic when crushed.

Dimensions: Typically 5-9 feet in height. Usually as broad as tall and sometimes broader.

Growth Rate: Fast.

Range: Southeastern United States, Maryland and Missouri west to Texas and south to the Monroe County Keys; Bermuda, Bahamas and Cuba. Very rare in the Monroe County Keys and perhaps absent south of Key Largo.

Plant Map Map of select IRC data from peninsular Florida.

 Map of suggested ZIP codes from South Florida north to southern Brevard, Osceola, Polk, and Pasco counties.

 Map of ZIP codes with habitat recommendations from the Monroe County Keys north to Martin and Charlotte counties.

Habitats: A wide range of terrestrial ecosystems.

Soils: Moist, well-drained sandy, limestone or organic soils, usually with a humusy top layer.

Nutritional Requirements: Moderate; can grow in nutrient poor soils, but needs some organic content to thrive.

Salt Water Tolerance: Low; does not tolerate long-term flooding by salt or brackish water.

Salt Wind Tolerance: Moderate; grows near salt water, but is protected from direct salt spray by other vegetation.

Drought Tolerance: High; does not require any supplemental water once established.

Light Requirements: Full sun to light shade.

Flower Color: Pink or rarely white.

Flower Characteristics: Semi-showy in dense clusters.

Flowering Season: All year; peak spring-summer.

Fruit: Red-purple berry-like drupe, rarely white. Very showy clusters in the leaf axils. All year; peak summer-fall.

Wildlife and Ecology: Provides significant food and moderate amounts of cover for wildlife. Nectar plant for butterflies. Birds eat the attractive fruits.

Horticultural Notes: Grown from seed. Clean pulp from seed by rubbing on a paper towel or by placing into a blender with water and then straining. Sprinkle seeds into a pot with 2" or more potting soil. Place in light shade or full sun and keep moist.

References: Hammer 2004, Nelson 2003, Schaefer & Tanner 1997

Comments: This is an excellent and adaptable shrub for nearly throughout South Florida. Periodic heavy pruning nearly to the ground encourages new growth. See also the Florida Wildflower Foundation's Flower Friday page.

Copyright by: Adriana Olavarria

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2012
In habitat, Big Cypress National Preserve, Florida

Copyright by: James Johnson, 2014
In habitat, Secret Woods Buffer and Nature Center,
Broward County, Florida

Copyright by: Roger L. Hammer

Copyright by: George D. Gann
In habitat, Broward County, Florida

Copyright by: George D. Gann

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Copyright by: Shirley Denton

Other data on Callicarpa americana available from:

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