Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

This honeybee (Apis mellifera) is attracted to the pale pink flowers of beautyberry (Callicarpa americana), and its corbicula (pollen basket) is laden with yellow pollen.  The genus name, Callicarpa, derived from Latin, means beautiful (calli) fruit (carpa).

Its magenta berries are far showier than its delicate flowers …

Who doesn’t love beautyberry?

Beautyberry is the Weed of the Week in the Range Cattle Research and Equation Center, IFAS/UF, newsletter.  Birds and other wildlife consume the showy fruits and spread the seeds to pastures where It is “very difficult to control”.  The herbicide triclopyr (which is used for Brazilian pepper and other broadleaf plants)  often fails to kill beautyberry.

A member of the mint family, Lamiaceae, beautyberry is a common hammock plant at the Oslo Riverfront Conservation Area where it is usually from 5 – 8′ in height.  Its opposite leaves vary from 2 –  6″, have toothed margins, and are elliptical to ovate in shape.

 

Often, the undersides of the leaves are pubescent.  Flowering occurs in the spring and summer, and sometimes fruits begin to form at the same time.

The fruits often persist until late winter when cedar waxwings, robins, and other migratory birds gorge on any remaining fruits.

According to Weeds of the Week, the stems are terete, which, I learned, means somewhat circular and narrowing toward the tips.

Beautyberry is a sturdy, drought-tolerant plant with gorgeous berries and bee-loved flowers.  Its sprawling habit does not befit formal landscapes, but it can be pruned into a formal shape for by those with time and industry.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

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