Beautyberry (Callicarpa americana)
Grow your own natural mosquito repellent! American Beautyberry is a wonderful, large fast-growing under story shrub with a naturally loose and graceful arching form. In the fall and early winter, the branches are laden with magenta purple (sometimes white) berry clusters that look spectacular as the leaves drop in autumn.
The American Beautyberry is native to the Southeastern United States, from Texas to Virginia, and is beloved by wildlife across the region, from native birds to deer, for whom it is an important source of protein and moisture. Although all parts of the Beautyberry plant are useful, from the berries to roots, the flowering shrub is most commonly cultivated for it's leaves, at least here in Florida, as a mosquito repellent. Beautyberry plants grow wild alongside shady oak hammock trails and in the summer, we've been known to harvest during our hike and carry it along with us to keep the mosquitoes at bay.
American beautyberry is also known as French Mulberry, Sourbush, Bunchberry, or Purple beauty-berry. In Greek, the genus name Callicarpa means callos, “beauty” and carpos “fruit”.