American Beauty Berry Callicarpa americana L. is a native plant to North America and are edible! Be sure like any foraging adventure that you have someone who has the knowledge and skills to find and identify the plants you plan to consume. DO NOT eat a berry if you are not 100% sure!
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What is American Beauty Berry?
A native perennial found in the south/south east United States including Texas, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia, Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, Alabama. One of the most distinguishing features is the bright magenta berries. A partial woody medium level bush that grows in many locations.
Beauty Berry Habit
The bush grows around 3-5 feet tall and wide, but can reach taller heights. Many animal enjoy the berries including deer, birds, and other wildlife. They are also used as part of landscaping as they have bright purple berries starting in late summer with light green leaves.
Beauty Berry Uses
According to the USDA, Native Americans have used beauty berry in many ways. Medicinal uses such as to treat for Malaria and Rheumatoid arthritis. Many people today still use the leaves for a mosquito repellent. While they are edible, most people, including myself, do not like to eat them raw. They taste medicinal and are not terribly sweet.
Beauty Berry Jelly
I quickly found out that people often use them as jelly. This is the one I used from Hearth and Vine. With the right amount of pectin and sugar, you can have a very unique jelly. The only tricky part I found was that it can take a while. Also, like all wild berries, there will be more amount of variation. Depending on when in the season you get them and the level of purple. Unlike commercial varieties of berries, even ones you grow, wild berries and other fruits will just not be all the same consistency.
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