Beauty Berry: Not Just a Weed. Insecticide, Jams, and Native Landscaping.

Callicarpa Americana more commonly known as Beauty Berry is one of the most easily recognizable backyard plants.  It grows pretty much anywhere, and most people think of it as just a weed.  It is easily identified by its bright purple berries, and due to its color, most people think it is poisonous.  However, this is incorrect.  Not only is beauty berry not poisonous, it has several household uses.

Despite their bright purple color, the berries on a Beauty Berry bush are edible.  They aren’t the most delicious fruit, and when raw, their flavor is somewhat astringent.  However, the berries make a great jam.  Adventurous eaters can find recipes for this jam online.  The jam has a mild flavor, and tastes like a mixture of muscadine and apple jelly.  It makes a great gift as it is something that you can’t find in stores.  Another use for the plant comes from its leaves.  The leaves can act as an insect repellent in a pinch when they are broken and rubbed against the skin.

How to identify a Beauty Berry plant:  The most obvious identifying feature of the plant is the bright purple berries, which start off white, and gradually turn purple as they ripen.  When the berries aren’t in season, the plant can also be identified by its leaves.  The leaves are large with serrated edges, and feel fairly rough to the touch.  On the stem, they grow in pairs opposite from each other.  In Florida, the Beauty Berry produces twice a year, once in spring, and once in fall.

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