June 28, 2017

A Beauty of a Berry

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'

Mark Uchneat Photo | Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’

Ever see a plant and think, “That can’t be real?” Callicarpa dichotoma ‘Early Amethyst’ is one such plant when its berries are in full color. Known as purple beautyberry, the shrub produces clusters of brilliant amethyst-colored fruit in the fall. Hardy to Zone 5, a harsh winter can kill the plant back to the ground, but that is not a bad thing because beautyberry flowers only on new wood. Cutting the old growth back in the late winter or early spring keeps the 3- to 4-foot-tall shrub in shape and actually helps with a good flush of flowers, which are pink-lavender in hue. As for its other requirements, full sun and regular moisture help it produce the most berries, which is really the crowning highlight of this gem from China and Japan.

Photographed by Mark Uchneat.