The American Beautyberry is a small shrub that recently is beginning to get its due respect. Flowers and fruit are produced on new wood, and the shrub does experience some die back in Jefferson County as Jefferson County is at the far north of its native range. However, die back is not that big of an issue as it will promote more berries.
The berries are the most desired component of this plant. The relatively insignificant flowers develop into prolific bright violet to magenta berry-like drupes which encircle the stem putting on a magnificent display. These fruits remain attractive for a long time although they are generally gone before severe winter weather.
This plant was a favorite of Thomas Jefferson who in 1771 directed that several American Beautyberries be planted around his home Monticello. While in Paris immediately following the American Revolution, Jefferson spoke so highly of the shrub that they were highly sought. His close friend, Madame de Tessé, requested that Jefferson arrange for plants to be sent for her estate at Chaville, as a way to highlight her respect for America.