) is an ornamental beautyberry
tree grown in gardens
of the Southern United States
. American beautyberries produce large clusters of purple berries, which birds and deer eat, thus distributing the seeds. The raw berries, while palatably sweet, are suitable for human consumption only in small amounts, because they are astringent
; they are also used in jellies
. The roots are used to make herbal tea. The leaves repel insects
that carry Lyme disease
, and yellow fever
The native range of C. americana extends from Maryland to Florida, west to Texas and Arkansas, and also Mexico, Bermuda, the Bahamas and Cuba.
Plants with white berries are found in cultivation under the name Callicarpa americana var. lactea; not all authorities recognize this as a distinct variety (in the sense of the botanical rank below subspecies).