Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Beautyberry (10/14/2014)

You can always notice it is fall when the beauty berries in our yard start producing their bright purple fruit.  Beautyberries are a very common native (weedy) species in our yard.  We started with one, just in the right spot, and now two or three years later we have three additional plants scattered throughout the yard.  Since the fruit is a bird favorite, you can guess where we get the new plants: underneath existing shrubs and trees.  Birds eat the fruit and poop out the seed, usually when the sit on a perch.

I saw this when managing on a 400 acre ecosystem restoration project in the Indianapolis area.  We had planted tree seedlings in rows in all these acres of farmland and we were required to monitor the success.  We started to notice that volunteer seedlings were germinating everywhere.  While seedlings of plants with light seeds established were germinating throughout the area, we saw that seedlings from plants with fruits were germinating only at the bases of the tallest seedling we had planted.  This was pure evidence that birds were using the tallest seedlings as perches to look over the field and pooping out seeds.  Great to see nature in action like that.

Honestly, I love beautyberries. Callicarpa americana as it is known in scientific terms is a great native plant, it serves as food for birds during a time they are fattening up for winter or migration.  It seems that the plant has a chemical compound in its leaves that repels mosquitoes, and in our yard we need all the help we can get.

I am posting this picture as part of Cee's Fun Photo Challenge.  This weeks challenge was to post a picture with vibrant colors, and lucky me, I took this photograph this past weekend.


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