Host an Event Volunteer Join Tickets

Support the plant database you love!

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
3 ratings

Monday - August 02, 2010

From: Hodges, SC
Region: Southeast
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Can beautyberries be used to make jelly from Hodges SC
Answered by: Barbara Medford

QUESTION:

Since the beautyberry bush berries were used for tea to help with colic, can the berries be used for making jelly?

ANSWER:

Since Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry) grows natively all around Greenwood County SC, you should have a supply of the fruits for cooking, if you wished to.

This line from the page in our Native Plant Database on gives us the information on the medicinal uses of Callicarpa americana (American beautyberry):

"Use Medicinal: Native American used root and leaf tea in sweat baths for rheumatism, fevers, and malaria. Root tea used for dysentery, stomach aches. Root and berry tea used for colic."

Looking further, we found a site on the American beautyberry from Dave's Garden, which is a forum. You can read all the comments, but some we thought were interesting were that it was edible for human consumption although it didn't have much flavor, but was delicious made into a jelly. Another said that early Floridians made jelly from it. One person used them to make Beautyberry pancakes. And still another described it as not juicy like a blackberry, but pulpy like a soft, mealy apple. And finally, one said she had a recipe for jelly but hadn't tried it out yet; she didn't include the recipe, and we couldn't find one anywhere else.

We would say one word from experience, not with beautyberries, but with mustang grapes, which we picked growing wild from fences in Central Texas. They ripened in the middle of the summer, and we took them home, boiled them for what seemed like forever, strained all the seeds and skin out, and added a whole lot of sugar, and pectin. It was a hot, tiresome job-the jars of jelly were really pretty, and everyone loved them, except for the cook.  Some things are simply more trouble than they are worth. 

From our Native Plant Image Gallery:


Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

Callicarpa americana

 

 

 

 

More Edible Plants Questions

Are berries of coral honeysuckle edible from Lufkin TX
May 21, 2013 - Are the berries of coral honeysuckle edible?
view the full question and answer

Ground cover plant that tastes like cucumbers
December 18, 2011 - It is a native ground cover plant that is edible and tastes like cucumbers. Found in the Edwards Plateau. What is the name?
view the full question and answer

Information on edible tubers of hog potato from Austin
November 10, 2011 - I inquired a while back about hog potato or Hoffmannseggia glauca. You gave me some information on the plant but no information on when the plant produces the edible tubers. Also how long does it take...
view the full question and answer

Are wild sweet peas edible?
August 05, 2010 - Are wild sweet peas edible? Thanks.
view the full question and answer

Making Tea from Croton monanthogynus
August 13, 2013 - Do you have any other information on the value of croton monanthogynus as a tea? Nutritive value? Possible adverse reactions?
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.