University of Maryland Extension

American Beautyberry

Ellen Nibali
Ellen Nibali

Callicarpa americana

“Purple ping-pong balls” describes the berry clusters on this flashy native shrub. Violet to magenta berries totally encircle the stem, gaining size as the plant matures. Reaching 3 to 8 feet, the deciduous American beautyberry makes a loose, graceful shrub that works well in a shrub border with a backdrop of evergreens or a structure that provide contrast with the purple berries.  A good conversation piece, American beautyberry grows best and produces the most berries in sun.  It likes soil that doesn’t dry out.  A white-berried variety is also available, if you prefer your ping-pong balls in traditional white. 

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