Comprehensive DescriptionRead full entry
General: Vervain Family (Verbenaceae). American beautyberry is a native, perennial shrub. These small, deciduous shrubs reach from 1 to 2 m in height. The leaves are opposite, elliptical to ovate in shape (7 to 15 cm long) and have saw-toothed margins. The under-side of the leaves can be covered with white or rust-colored woolly hairs. The inconspicuous blue, violet, pink, or white flowers are borne in axillary clusters that bloom from late spring to early summer. The flowers are funnel-shaped with four clefs. The round, showy, violet or magenta drupes or fruits are 4-5 mm in diameter. The very juicy fruits, containing from 2 to 4 seeds, begin to ripen in August or September. These colorful fruits remain on the shrubs long after the leaves drop.
Distribution: For current distribution, please consult the Plant Profile page for this species on the PLANTS Web site.
Habitat: American beautyberry shrubs occur in dry open woods, moist woods, thickets and hammocks. They occur as understudy species in upland pine forests, upper slope pine-oak forests and old-growth maritime forests. These shrubs are adapted to climates with hot, humid summers and moderate winters.