I spied it in a wooded area on Anastasia Island in Florida, and was immediately struck by the bright purple berries. I’d never seen this plant before. According to the Florida Native Plant Society, it is Callicarpa Americana, commonly known as American Beautyberry and also as Dwarf Mulberry, Beautybush, Filigree, and French Mulberry.
Apparently, Beautyberry is found over a large portion of the Southeastern U.S., produces berries year-round in many areas, is drought-resistant, and thrives in a wide range of conditions. Historically the roots, leaves, and berries were used by Native Americans to treat a variety of common ailments. The berries, which ripen in September and October, are edible (in small amounts) and can be used to make jellies and jams. The crushed leaves still are used today as a folk remedy to repel mosquitoes and to keep flies and other biting insects away from horses and mules.