Is Purple Beautyberry Edible? How To Enjoy This Wild Berry

Purple beautyberry, scientifically known as Callicarpa americana, C. dichtoma, C. japonica, or C. bodinieri depending on species, is a type of wild berry that many animals rely on as a food source. 

The berries, which are really just small clusters of purple drupes, are rather pleasing to the eye as well.

Is purple beautyberry edible? Purple beautyberry is edible for humans as well as wild animals and pets. However, people should stick to consuming only small amounts of raw purple beautyberries at once. As an ingredient, the berries are particularly useful in making jam (or jelly) and juice (or wine).

Read on below and discover the truth about purple beautyberry and how you can enjoy this wild berry!

Guide To Eating Beautyberries

Eating beautyberries in the wild is a pastime often practiced by nature lovers, gardeners, and those who find themselves outdoors more often than the average bear as you can’t find them for sale in stores.

Below, we discuss everything you need to know about eating these beautiful American berries.

Identifying the American Beautyberry Plant

The American beautyberry plant has a rough-skinned stem; large oval, toothed leaves that are yellowish-green to deep-green in color; and little light purple flowers that bloom for several months each year.

Most plants are 3-5 feet in both height and width, but larger specimens are certainly possible.

The berries that ripen from the flowers grow in clusters and are bright purple.

Ripe Berries – What To Look For

American beautyberries that are ripe appear as half a dozen or more clusters consisting of vivid purple berry clusters on each stem of the plant.

Once you have seen them you can’t miss them as they are so unique.

How To Pick Beautyberries

Picking beautyberries is extremely similar to picking blackberries or raspberries; simply grab a bowl or fruit basket, and pluck the berries from their stems, cluster by cluster, by hand.

Place them gently into the bowl, and store them in a cool, dry place (or the fridge).

Best Ways To Eat American Beautyberry

Beautyberries may not be as well known or widely available as other types of berries, but there are just as many ways to eat the American beautyberry. 

You can eat beautyberries:

  • Raw (in small amounts only)
  • Dried
  • In pie
  • As jelly
  • As jam
  • As sauce
  • In tea

What Do Beauty Berries Taste Like?

The taste of beautyberries is somewhat sweet with a hint of spicy. Those familiar with Asian five-spice may find the flavor similar.

Beautyberries are a curiosity to even those fonder of berries than most, simply because they are a rarity. You’ll never find them at the grocery store. 

Related Question:

What’s the Difference Between Beautyberry and Poke Berry?

Purple beautyberry is a wild berry that is highly edible for both humans and animals. Poke berry, on the other hand, is a much darker-colored berry that is poisonous. In fact, the entire plant is poisonous.

Ingesting these purple-black berries or even a sliver of its traffic-cone-sized root may even cause hallucinations. 

The two are easy to tell apart visually: purple beautyberry is a much lighter shade of purple than pokeberry and is arranged in clusters, and the stems of poke berry plants are vividly reddish purple as well.

A Final Word About Eating Purple Beautyberry

Eating purple beautyberry is as safe as eating any other edible berry so long as you keep the number of raw berries consumed relatively low.

For pies, jelly, and even wine, beautyberries are a unique and tasty ingredient you’ll not likely regret giving a try.