Please read text!
Beauty Berry Velvet Leaf Callicarpa Pedunculata Seeds
Packet of 25+ home grown organic seeds!
This fella is truly beautiful and the name beauty berry is very fitting.
It produces masses of flowers followed by glossy, shiny, almost metallic purple fruit.
The fruit are edible, and it is commonly advertised and sold in a very misleading manner.
Many of the adverts I have seen by the big seed sellers, especially on ebay/amazon etc imply that the fruit is eaten out of hand like blackberries and raspberries are.
Let me say clearly, that is not the case with this fella…
It is edible, but it is not at all delicious, and the “fruit” is basically a small round seed with a thin brittle purple shell.
Only the shell is edible, and it tastes like lantana fruit which are also “edible”.
I guarantee you will never see them sold as food in a restaurant or greengrocer either…
It’s excess of “beauty” more than make up for the lack of “tasty” though, and if you just think of it as a flowering shrub not a food, then it’s a great plant to have.
It’s native to Australia along with southern China, northeast India, Laos, Vietnam, Myanmar, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, New Guinea, and the Solomons.
It responds well to pruning and makes a great native hedge.
While us humans should probably give the berries a miss the birds really take advantage of the abundant fruit, and unlike softer Edible Fruit, they don’t stain your house and car.
The plant does have a long history of medicinal use and if you cut crush or rip yourself while gardening, crushing the young tender leaves and slapping it on the mangled bit will stop the bleeding and prevent infection.
This haemostatic effect means you can do the same thing for nose bleeds and apparently it stops them straight away.
I don’t really get nose bleeds so never tried that last bit myself but I have used it on one half of a largish shallow scratch/cut and it did stop the bleeding much faster than the untreated half.
That is the only medical use I have used the plant for, but historically the leaves were made into a tea and given in the case of fever, pain or severe traumatic injury, particularly to help cough up blood from the lungs and prevent drowning.
The leaves were also dried and smoked in the case of asthma attack and there is some medical basis for their use.
They are also used as a poultice for boils and ulcers, as a treatment for poisoning by fish spines or toadstools, and as a fish poison themselves to catch fish, crabs, prawns and eels.
Most commonly called Beauty berry and it is easy to see why, but they are also known as velvet leaf, zi zhu, tzu-chu ts’ao, tzu-chu shu, memeniran, meniran, ringan-ringan, Callicarpa aspera, Callicarpa bicolor, Callicarpa blancoi, Callicarpa brevipes glabrescens, Callicarpa cuspidata, Callicarpa dentata, Callicarpa formosana, Callicarpa integerrima serrulata, Callicarpa ningpoensis, Callicarpa obtusifolia, Callicarpa ovata, Callicarpa pedunculata longifolia, Callicarpa rubella robusta, Callicarpa taiwaniana, Callicarpa tiliifolia, Callicarpa viridis, Metrosideros citrina and no doubt others too.
Very easy to grow, just soak the seeds in warm water to soften them, then mix into the surface of a sandy soil mix and wait a couple months.
I get ~80% germination like that and if planted out at about their 6th set of leaves they are able to look after themselves from that point onwards.
Cut them back hard after they fruit and you get nice tight bushes with lots of flowers and fruit.
Great habitat for small birds like finches and willy wagtails and I often see their nests in them.
Grown by me and the Mrs organically, no chems, no nasties, no problems!!!