ORRIN MORRIS: Be careful when taking beauty berry seedlings or cuttings

BEAUTY BERRYCallicarpa americana

BEAUTY BERRYCallicarpa americana

At the end of the sixth day of creation the writer of Genesis noted, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (1:31).I envision the Creator with a smile of pleasure on His face as He graded the results as "very good."

Within a short time all that pleasure turned to sorrow as disobedience, rebellion and disbelief took a great toll on the relationship between the Creator and the creature.

Centuries of struggle finally culminated in the Creator intervening anew with His Son. All the work of redemption was done by God through the life, death, and resurrection of His Son.

Through simple childlike faith the relationship between Creator and creature is being restored, one believer at a time.

With a new sense of relationship to the Creator, one becomes aware of the beauty that has been created for us to enjoy. Today's wildflower has that thought incorporated in its common name.BEAUTY BERRY

Callicarpa americanaBeauty berry is noted for its fruit rather than the blossom. The flowers are rather indistinct. They are small and rarely noticed in spring. However, when fall arrives the fruit turns magenta and always attracts attention.

Beauty berry is more common in the coastal plains where the soil is sandy.

That preference for sandy woodlands is the primary reason these bushes can be found in our area. The soils that are underlain with granite domes formed eons ago is sufficiently sandy to nurture this plant.

Beauty berry is a shrub that may reach 10 feet high and spread 6 to 8 feet wide. The blooms and berries generally form on the new growth.

Many different birds enjoy the fruit but the cardinals seem most aggressive, as they flock to the bushes when its fruit reaches maturity. The other birds are chased away and in an hour or two no berries remain.

The seeds become widely distributed as the flock of cardinals seek other beauty berry bushes. In a few years, new bushes spring up to the amazement of homeowners who did not plant them.

As a rule, I discourage digging up wildflowers to move them to your residence but beauty berry is an exception.

Often a large shrub will have seedlings at its base. These can easily be transplanted, but care must be taken not to injure the parent shrub.

An alternative is to take a cutting, put it in a glass of water until roots appear, then plant it.

Orrin Morris is a retired Baptist minister, local artist and art teacher. Notecards are available of the wildflowers published in the Citizen. His email is odmsketchingpad@yahoo.com or call him at 770-929-3697.