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Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

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Monday - December 12, 2011

From: Monckscorner, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Plant Identification, Shrubs
Title: Identification of shrub in South Carolina
Answered by: Nan Hampton

QUESTION:

First, I'm in Iraq but trying to write a book and have a question on a plant that grows in South Carolina. All I can do is describe it. The bush is normally green but turns red, has large leaves, kind of waxy and produces black or deep purple berries that stain. Any info that you can provide would be much needed. Thank you.

ANSWER:

You can search for shrubs native to South Carolina in our Native Plant Database by choosing COMBINATION SEARCH and selecting "South Carolina" from Select State or Province and "Shrub" from Habit (general appearance).  This search will give you more than 160 choices to look through.

 Here are some of the most likely possibilities from that list:

Photinia floribunda (Purple chokeberry) and here are more photos and information.  (Aronia floribunda is a synonym for Photinia floribunda.)

Photinia melanocarpa (Black chokeberry) and here are photos.

Here are some more photos of Photinias with some non-native Photinia spp. included.

Vaccinium corymbosum (Highbush blueberry) and here are more photos.

Vaccinium fuscatum (Black highbush blueberry) and here are photos.

Vaccinium myrsinites (Shiny blueberry and here are photos.

Viburnum nudum (Possumhaw viburnum) and here are more photos.

Viburnum prunifolium (Blackhaw) and here are more photos.

Viburnum rafinesquianum (Downy arrowwood)

Here are other possibilities from the list:

Amelanchier arborea (Common serviceberry) and here are more photos.

Amelanchier canadensis (Canadian serviceberry) and here are more photos.

Amelanchier obovalis (Coastal juneberry) on the threatened and endangered list in Maryland and Pennsylvania.  Here are photos.

Amelanchier stolonifera (Running serviceberry) and here are photos.

Gaylussacia baccata (Black huckleberry) and here are more photos.

Gaylussacia frondosa (Blue huckleberry) and here are photos.

Ilex coriacea (Large gallberry) with evergreen leaves and here are photos.

Ilex glabra (Inkberry) with evergreen leaves.

Persea palustris (Swamp bay) and here are more photos.

Finally, here is one more species that is shrub-like but is not a perennial.   It does have dark purple berries that stain.  It is Phytolacca americana (American pokeweed).

I hope you find your shrub in the ones shown above.  Good luck with your book!

Here are photos of some the shrubs listed above:

 

From the Image Gallery


Purple chokeberry
Photinia floribunda

Black highbush blueberry
Vaccinium fuscatum

Velvetleaf huckleberry
Vaccinium myrtilloides

Possumhaw viburnum
Viburnum nudum

Blackhaw
Viburnum prunifolium

Downy arrowwood
Viburnum rafinesqueanum

Inkberry
Ilex glabra

Black huckleberry
Gaylussacia baccata

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

American pokeweed
Phytolacca americana

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