En Español

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

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

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

Use of non-native jasmine for wedding in Salt Lake City
January 08, 2010 - I am getting married mid summer in Salt Lake City. I want to incorporate jasmine plants/flowers into my bouquet, centerpieces, etc. Is that feasible living in Salt Lake City? Would they survive long e...
view the full question and answer

Space between trees from Blythewood SC
April 05, 2013 - I'm planting 4 green giants in a back corner of my yard. I also have a kumquat tree to plant. I have somewhat limited space. What is the minimum spacing between the four green giants and the green gi...
view the full question and answer

Failure of Gerbera daisies in hanging basket
July 08, 2008 - I had perennial Gerbera daisies in a hanging basket, the flowers died,I was not sure whether to remove just the flower or to go from the flower to the stem at the plants main stem? There is nothing re...
view the full question and answer

Non-native. Why are my potted Royal Empress trees dying?
June 22, 2009 - I have purchased several Royal Empress trees over the past two years. Why won't they grow? Some sprouted leaves and then died while in the pots I planted them in. While others, that are 2 years old ...
view the full question and answer

Fuzzy Citrus Fruit on Satsuma and Lemon Trees
September 13, 2014 - A man asked you about fuzzy little small fruit-like balls that looked like tiny lemons. I have huge numbers of these on both my mature Satsuma and lemon tree this year. I get 100's of really great f...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.
E-NEWSLETTER | BECOME A MEMBER | DONATE NOW | MEDIA | JOBS | SITEMAP | STAFF INTRANET
© 2016 Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center