The American beautyberries at the nature center have been most munificent in their fruiting this fall. They are quite dazzling.
At the bases of the leaves, this fast growing shrub produces clusters of magenta berries with a metallic sheen. The berries turn black and last well into the winter, long after the leaves drop off. They are an important survival food for birds, deer and other animals, although they generally do not eat them until other food sources are depleted.
Who knows, if times get bad, we may be eating them, although I’ve read they are not particularly agreeable to human stomachs.
The shrub is native to the Southeast: Maryland to Florida and west to Texas.