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 Shrubs Questions

Planting dogwood in Baytown TX
April 23, 2010 - I live in Baytown Texas and was wondering if this would be a good area to plant a dogwood tree?
view the full question and answer

Low evergreen drought-resistant shrubs for area in partial shade
January 03, 2014 - I promised my mom to help her with some new plants for her house, so here goes. She lives near Waco on Blackland clay soil. The problem area is right in front of the house. It only receives a few hour...
view the full question and answer

Getting rid of non-native, invasive English Ivy from Davidsonville MD
March 19, 2014 - Just moved and need to rid the well established Ivy planted on the steep slope area around the back and side of the house as it is taking over the bushes on the top and trees in forested area at botto...
view the full question and answer

Waxy deposits on Magnolia fuscata from Ethel LA
June 18, 2013 - I have a 4yr old Magnolia Fascata (aka banana shrub)- I noticed that it has small oval shaped yellow waxy deposits on the branches.. I have also noticed small black ants on the branches. The unknown d...
view the full question and answer

Native boundary hedgerow plants for North Texas
May 31, 2015 - I have 27 acres of native prairie in the western edge of the cross timbers just a few miles south of the Red River between Nocona and Saint Jo, TX. I'm looking for some Texas native plant choices fo...
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