The American beautyberry is a shrub,
6-9 feet in height. Shoot growth occurs throughout much of the season.
It is characterized by its attractive foliage and clusters of flowers or
fruit around the leaf nodes.
Leaves are simple, opposite or subopposite,
and deciduous. The leaves are 3-5 inches long, 1-3 inches wide, oval-shaped,
with an acute apex. Leaf bases are tapered. Leaf margins are
serrate. Leaf surfaces are green and usually glabrous above, paler
and pubescent below. Petioles are short and slender.
The flowers are perfect and in sessile clusters around the leaf nodes.
Fruit is a 4-pitted lavender-pink, magenta, or violet drupe, about 1/4 inch in diameter.
Older stems have a protective, thin,
light brown bark.
The American beautyberry grows in relatively
open or closely canopied, well-drained woodlands and their borders, in
thickets, fence and hedge rows. It is found from Maryland south to
southern Florida; west to Texas; north to Arkansas and Tennessee; also
in Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahaman Island, and western Cuba.
This plant is occasionally used as
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