Toyon Heteromeles arbutifolia

Toyon by most sources is referred to as a bush. However it grows from 6 feet to as much as 30 feet tall some locations in the Santa Lucias. The larger Toyon "trees" can have a circumference of 48 inches or more so I have included it here because of its potential tree-like size.

toyon leaves
Also known a Christmas Berry and California Holly the leathery leaves are evergreen, toothed, and are 3-4 inches in length.

toyon flowers
The white flowers occur in dense clusters and have five petals about 3/8 of an inch across.

Toyon Flowers with bee
Native and non-native bees and butterflies love the flowers. In summer months (Jun. - Aug.) when they bloom the buzz of busy bees collecting pollen and nectar can heard from a distance.

toyon berries
The berries green when young become bright to deep red when mature. These berries are a critical food source for migratory and over-wintering birds. Many mammals of the area make this part of their diet during the winter months. Native peoples cooked the berries before eating them.

toyon tree with berries
A 15 foot Toyon with Bay and Live Oak in the background growing at the edge of an open meadow. The winter months are when the berries are most red. This photo was taken in December.

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