En EspaŅol

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

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

Search Smarty Plants
    
 
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions
Can't find the answer in our existing FAQs, submit a question to Mr. Smarty Plants.
Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.
 
rate this answer
Not Yet Rated

Friday - August 03, 2012

From: Huntsville, AL
Region: Southeast
Topic: Non-Natives, Shrubs
Title: Distinguishing American from Chinese beautyberry from Huntsville AL
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

How can I tell American beautyberry from Chinese beautyberry when trying to purchase strictly native plants?

ANSWER:

Well, the first, best way would be if that nursery had tags with the scientific name on them. If you were lucky enough to find a nursery like that, a label that said Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry). That plant (if you were in a reputable nursery) would be the only member of the genus Callicarpa (beautyberry) listed in our native plant database as being native to North America. If you follow the link above, you will get good descriptions of the identifying features of the native plant.

However, this is the real world, and the labels (if there even is a label) will have trade names, secret names, and no indication of origin. Asking someone in the nursery is not likely to produce any better results. We found eight members of the Callicarpa genus that are not native to North America. We are going to list them with a link to each, if we can find a website with pictures. Whether this will be good enough to distinguish the native from the non-native, we don't know, but we'll give it a try.

Callicarpa bodinieri - native to China

Callicarpa bodinieri var. giraldii 'Profusion'

Callicarpa dichotoma

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Duet'

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Early Amethyst'

Callicarpa dichotoma 'Issai' Chinese  Beautyberry

Callicarpa japonica - Japanese Beautyberry

Callicarpa japonica - 'Leucocarpa'

 

From the Image Gallery


American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

American beautyberry
Callicarpa americana

More Non-Natives Questions

Moving non-native globe willow in Mansfield TX
August 10, 2009 - I have a globe willow that we planted in a little landscaped area out front of house not realizing how large top would get. Can I move the tree without damaging it? It is about 9 ft tall, 5-6 ft wid...
view the full question and answer

Thinning and culling wildflower seed mix plants
May 11, 2015 - Wildflower garden in central Oklahoma I sowed a (mostly) native wildflower mixture in early November here in my Zone 7A Edmond, OK garden. To my surprise, many of the seeds (I'm guessing annuals)...
view the full question and answer

Cutting back of non-native Salvia Elegans in Portland OR
December 31, 2011 - I did not trim back my pineapple sage in the fall. It is now winter and the plants are bare sticks. Should I cut them back or leave them alone?
view the full question and answer

a source for fruitless olive (non-native) trees
June 29, 2012 - I was given a "mexican olive" several years ago which is doing very well. This one is non-fruiting and I would like to have another that is non-fruiting but cannot find one. Cordia boissieri see...
view the full question and answer

Mid-summer watering needs of non-native dwarf Meyer Lemon tree in Austin
March 20, 2011 - I live in Central Texas outside Austin city limits. I've recently purchased a dwarf Meyer lemon tree and planted it in a large pot. It's doing very well. I will be out-of-state from July through ...
view the full question and answer

Smarty Plants's Facebook profile Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.

Mr. Smarty Plants wants you to be his Facebook friend. Click the Facebook icon to add yourself to Mr. Smarty Plants list of friends.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | SITEMAP | STAFF
© 2015 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center