The berries were every bit as inviting as the gum balls but I had to find out if they were edible or toxic before I planted it. I was more than a little suspicious of the enticing, vivid berries.
I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Callicarpa berries are edible – at least that’s what Google Search and a TV documentary told me.
I finally bought the plant a couple of months ago and couldn’t wait to do a taste test. Would be as delicious as it looked? I picked a small purple sphere and popped it into my mouth.
The verdict? It was dismally flat and insipid. Tastewise, it would never make it to the hall of fame.
But hey, it’s totally off the charts in the looks department. What it lacks in taste, the Callicarpa makes up for it through its aesthetically pleasing berries. Whoever gave the plant its common name chose that name well.
But there is more to the Callicarpa than its gorgeous berries. Even the buds and flowers appeal visually. Neat clusters
of pinhead grey-green buds blush slightly before revealing a delicate froth of pink flowers.
The Callicarpa has bloomed more than a few times so I had expected more berries. But strangely, these have not been forthcoming. Apparently, fruiting is a lot easier when a few shrubs are grown together and there’s cross-pollination.
Care and propagation: Full sun, partial shade; well-drained, moist soil; water moderately. Propagate using cuttings or seeds.