First Fruits of Fall

Beautyberry is still in full foliage when the fruits color.

The typical fruits of beautyberry look like balls of color on a skewer. Purple is the typical color of the fruit.

The ‘Lutea’ selection of the common beautyberry has attractive white fruits.

When a neighbor calls and says come see my beautiful beautyberry in fruit, you know fall is not far off. This week, once she told me about hers and I made a photo, I started seeing them everywhere. While the foliage is still on they are not showy from a distance, but as soon as the foliage drops it is a show stopper. While there are lots variations of this native plant, the one shown above is the one that you see everythere. Some years I think every seed that drops to the ground comes up. The white selection is not as vigorous and does not produce as many seedlings. There are hybrid selections that do not produce viable seeds. I have seen these plants growing in full sun and in shade, too. Light does not always signal whether they have berry production or not. I have seen them in sandy and clay soil, but while I have grown them in dry conditions, I do not know if they will tolerate wet conditions. The easiest place to locate these plants is at a native plant nursery or plant sale. Regardless of their seeding characteristics, I always enjoy at least one in my garden.

John Floyd

John Floyd has been gardening--and learning about Birmingham area gardening--for more than 30 years. In addition to his day-to-day experience, John has degrees in horticulture from Auburn and Clemson Universities and was Editor-in-Chief of Southern Living.

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