Purple October, Green Halloween (?)

A wild growing patch of American Beauty Berries

A wild growing patch of American Beauty Berries

They like the sunlight

They like the sunlight

Green is all I’ve got in the way of leaves, so here ’tis! It’s now looking more weathered and antique than you see in the pictures, but the autumn colors are in no particular hurry in Alabama. I can’t really say “It’s fall, y’all!” Not yet. The Beauty Berries began fruiting in September, after blooming in the summer. To see what the flower froth looks like, click here and scroll way down the page: https://catwoodsporchparty.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/wild-summer-creeks-and-creatures/

A bumper crop!

A bumper crop!

Although I usually prefer my purples a tad bluer, I’ll take this! I love all things purple, purple passion, purple prose, iris, and violets. I have the skewed color sense (or mental aberration, LOL) attributed to the Impressionists by art critics, violettomania. The sharpest color change out there so far: redviolets, autumn’s version of spring violets.

A refreshing degree of disorder

A refreshing degree of disorder

The Beauty Berry bush can be trimmed and pruned as a cultivar, but I prefer my enormous, tangled thicket and its spawn of startling purple berries bursting from spots far from the patch. In so many places we’re seeing them now, they weren’t there last year! Wee woo hoo! Wildly random growth creeping towards us. Scary berries for October. I’m happy!

Critter cover

Critter cover

This photo hints of shaded spaces beyond the mass of leaves and fruit. I imagine paths within twisting and twining, like a labyrinth. What happens there? Who walks and flits and buzzes? Some uncharted critter we have no name for? I can see that birds and insects eat some of the berries, I can hear surrounding crickets.  I’d like to somehow enter the underbrush, and explore the life behind the vines and berry clumps. No doubt I’d find redbugs galore and a few leftover ticks.

Yellow leaves are coming our way

Yellow leaves are coming our way

To my knowledge there is no term for the peculiar fixation I have on the color green. I’m going to call it verte-igo. Then I can sing “That old green magic has me in it’s spell . . . in a spin, lovin’ the spin I’m in . . . ” (1)  We’ve had green Halloweens, since we never know just what point in the color continuum the foliage will be at, on October’s last day. This preternatural cold spell we’re having – brrrr –  will help stop chlorophyll production. I’ll jump on the yellow, red, and orange fall bandwagon, whenever. There will be more photos, another post. After that color feast, I’ll pine for green all winter long.

IMPORTANT NOTE: The American Beautyberry is for visual enjoyment only. There is conflicting online information about possible toxicity of Beautyberries, which is enough for me to say, DO NOT EAT them. This is my opinion. I  recommend NOT consuming any wild growing plants.


(1) “That Old Black Magic”, music by Harold Arlen, lyrics by Johnny Mercer, first recorded and released by Glenn Miller, 1942.

About these ads

About Catwoods

I'm a writer fascinated by the natural world and animals, especially cats.
This entry was posted in Nature and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to Purple October, Green Halloween (?)

  1. floridaborne says:

    I have a few of those bushes on my property. They’re quite beautiful. Your pictures of them look great. :-)

  2. doddsjzi says:

    We have beauty berries in the coastal SC region, too, and so I always mow carefully (bushhog) so as not to destroy them. We had a great display a couple of weeks ago, and now they are gone. Wonder if deer like them? Something does. Funny how what’s poison for one animal is food for another. A nice blog on a plant near and dear to me.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you! I’m glad you enjoyed the post. Our beauty berry bushes really proliferated this year, but we’ve had enough dry weather to seriously impede berry development. So they aren’t as glorious as they were last year. I think maybe deer and birds do eat them.

  3. Happy Thanksgiving!
    I have nominated you fur the Sisterhood of the World Bloggers Award! Fur more info visit hairballexpress.wordpress.com! Concatulations!

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much for nominating me for this award! I’m very flattered! I’m so sorry but I have to decline, because I cannot fulfill the obligations at this time. Due to an extra busy schedule, and health issues, it will likely be a month or more before I’ll be able to do another blog post, or comment widely on other blogs. In the future I hope to catch up; I’ll place first priority on posting comments to the blogs of people who have so kindly commented on mine. Hope you had a great Thanksgiving, and again, I hugely appreciate the nomination, thank you! I’m very sorry I can’t participate at this time. (I’ll crosspost this comment on the awards post on your blog.)

  4. Wow, I have never seen a berry like that before. What a color! So beautiful! :-)

  5. Very delicious… Uh. I mean, BEAUTIFUL berries…. But where’s the catnip?


    • Catwoods says:

      Shrimp, I can understand why you would ask about the catnip, LOL! Catnip would have to be cultivated, and we’re just not up to that at this time. I know, freshly grown is the best! All the plants here are volunteers.
      BTW, according to some sources, Beautyberries are toxic, and even though other sources disagree, that’s enough for me to say, DO NOT EAT Beautyberries.

  6. Wow, those berries are an amazing colour! Lots of colourful leaves and berries around here, but nothing quite that purple.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you for your response! There are so many colors everywhere to enjoy, but I was just especially taken with these purples. Our leaves have shifted colors more now, but we still see lots of green and have not yet reached peak fall coloration.

  7. I love the American Beautyberry bush especially in the fall when the brilliant purple berries arrive! Your pictures are really good. There might be a difference in your bush than mine, your bush seems to have small clusters where my bush has the entire limb full of berries.

    Beautiful Color

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you! I agree there is probably a regional variation in the Beautyberry bushes, or perhaps the cultivated variety differs from the wild growing plants we have here. Photos from other regions appear to have narrower leaves, as well as the difference in the berries.

  8. Kate Gilmore says:

    I have been wanting to thank you for following my blog. Pretty slim pickin’s at the moment, but I am going to try to do better, maybe with a companion piece to your lovely autumn in Alabama. It would have to be autumn in New England. How trite can you get? I think they had beauty bushes at the New York Botanic Garden, a place we spent a lot of time when we lived in New York, but nothing like the purple rampant in your southern woods. Sumptuous, royal!
    Off subject: I love the header for your blog–that delicious strip of feline sleepiness.

    • Catwoods says:

      Thank you so much for your comment, and for following my blog. I will enjoy any post you write! I watched a video of autumn in New England and found it gorgeous! A good preview and a way to participate in a season that hasn’t quite arrived here.
      I do plan to comment on your blog and those of others in the future, when I am less frazzled. Right now I am getting very little done per day, trying to finish up my book, and attend to a few other matters. I don’t work fast, so it may be a few months.
      I love your description of my header! That is Anna, one of my late Mom’s cats.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s