This is quite a favorite of the Japanese among native ornamental berry plants. It’s not only called Beauty Berry for nothing, but also has a literary and romantic name in Japanese – Murasaki Shikibu – after a lady of the court of the Heian Period who wrote the world’s first romance novel called “Tale of the Genji”.
The bush becomes a focal point when complemented with yellow flowering partners.
See article below by Linda Inoki.
The young women and little girls were all very pretty in autumn dress. Shonagon had taken care of everything. Murasaki, too, was dressed to perfection. ‘You have grown,’ he said, lifting a low curtain back over its frame. She looked shyly aside.”
|From “The Tale of Genji” by Murasaki Shikibu,
translated by Edward G. Seidensticker (Penguin Books)
This week’s plant takes us back more than 1,000 years to two “Lady Purples.” The heroine of “The Tale of Genji” is the gentle and beautiful Murasaki, whom Prince Genji adopts as a child. Murasaki is Japanese for purple, and in the novel the lovely child was named after the murasaki plant, a small forget-me-not that yielded a delicate purple dye. In turn, the brilliant but retiring court lady who actually wrote the novel became known as Murasaki, and the modest purple-berried shrub of Japan was given her name. Its small berries appear in autumn, taking on a deeper, lustrous hue as the season advances. As the leaves wither, the berries are left behind. This year, however, autumn has been so mild that both leaves and berries can still be seen making graceful arcs in parks and gardens.
The Japan Times: Nov. 29, 2001