Plant of the Month, December 2018: Toyon

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Toyon is a common plant you'll see in our Children's Woodland and our Butterfly Loop.  It's a perennial shrub native to western California and the Sierra foothills.  It's a prominent member of the coastal sage scrub plant community.  It's known by the common names Christmas berry and California Holly because of the bright red berries it produces.  The city of Hollywood was named for this plant.

  • Very easy to grow; moderately drought-tolerant
  • Common plant in chaparral and is found alongside creeksides, bottoms of slopes, north facing slopes, and canyons
  • It's flower is white and can be seen flowering in the summer
  • If properly situated it can grow up to 30 ft.
  • The fruit is small, bright red and berry-like, produced in large quantities, maturing in the fall and persisting well into the winter. The flowers are visited by butterflies and other insects, and have a mild, hawthorn-like scent. The berries are consumed by birds, including mockingbirds, American robins, and cedar waxwings

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