Monday, August 16, 2010

Foliage Follow-Up for August 2010

I'm so proud of my baby American beautyberry -- it's just starting to form berries.
American beautyberry
Question: Does a foliage plant with immature berries still count as foliage? Enquiring minds want to know, so let's head over to Digging, Pam Penick's blog and the hostess of Foliage Follow-Up; I bet she'll know!

Words and photos © 2009-2010 Caroline Homer for "The Shovel-Ready Garden". Unauthorized reproduction is prohibited.


  1. You bet it counts! We're celebrating anything non-flowery, so bring on the big leaves of the beautyberry and those ripening berries. I have a baby beautyberry in my garden too.

  2. Oh goody, Pam! I had a feeling foliage + berries would count.

    Missy, your comment brings up an interesting question: are beautyberries edible by humans?? Mockingbirds adore them, but I never considered that people might eat them, too. So I went searching for the answer, and the answer is, YES! However, they don't sound very tasty ("bland" and "mealy" were common descriptions), so most folks turn them into jelly. Me, I think I'll leave them for the mockingbirds. I can't wait til they turn that prickly-pear-pink!

  3. Edible!- that color strikes me as something to keep away from rather like the fruit of the pokeweed. I had a beautyberry show up in my garden last year. It was only summer neglect that it remained as I didn't know what it was. On the subject of edible berries we came across a man picking huckleberries yesterday and, never having seen one before, I was amazed to find they looked like blueberries and not blackberries. He gave us a taste, sweet but also bland. Maybe cooking gives them greater depth of flavor.

  4. I have been coveting one of these natives and finally put one in last fall. Supplemental watering has been a must this year. I have never heard about people eating these, and I would be disappointed if they did not taste like some kind of candy. Have you heard of their mosquito repelling properties?

  5. Lancashire rose, beautyberry jelly is reportedly similar to elderberry jelly, although more delicate. Les, I hadn't heard they repelled mosquitoes, but now that I know, I'm tempted to plant them all around the perimeter of my patio!

    This article speaks to both properties of the beautyberry:

    What an amazing plant!

  6. One of mine is starting to turn purple and the other, only a few feet away is about the size berries of yours. I think between the hard last winter and this horrible summer, things are a little out of whack.

  7. Yes, Bob, I think you're right, about this plant and many others. Throw in the spring El Niño rains and these plants don't know if they're coming or going. Or rather, whether they're in Dallas, Austin or Houston.