Thursday, September 15, 2011
American Beautyberries on the Greenway Trail
Identifying this tree is fairly easy. It has long arching branches and yellow-green foliage. The bark is smooth with elongated, raised corky areas and is light brown on older wood and reddish brown on younger wood. The leaves grow in pairs or in threes, with the blades half as wide as they are long and up to 9 inches in length. What really make the beautyberry stand out are the berries that grow just below the leaves. These colorful berries in hues of pink and purple become incredibly vivid in September and last long into the winter.
The beautyberry is an attractive plant that attracts wildlife. It provides food for many bird species including robins, cardinals, mockingbirds, brown thrashers, bobwhites, finches and towhees. White-tail deer also enjoy eating enjoy this berry.
It has also been discovered that the American Beautyberry is a natural insect repellent for mosquitoes and ticks. Department of Agriculture research reports that a chemical from the plant – callicarpenal – has been patented as a mosquito repellent.