Interesting Plant: Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) via BeWaterWise (@bewaterwiseh2o)

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)  via BeWaterWise.com 

A few months ago I was invited down the office of the Metropolitan Water District to meet a number of people involved in their BeWaterWise.com project to help reduce water usage in California. As part of their efforts, they focus on providing plant alternatives to water hungry lawns. Over the next several weeks, I will be highlighting some of their garden alternatives as part of this series. For more information on these plants and other water conservation ideas and programs, vist BeWaterWise.comFollow the MWD on Twitter at BeWaterWiseH2O — Douglas

Heteromeles arbutifolia 1.jpg
Heteromeles arbutifolia 1” by Stan Shebs. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Toyon is also known as Christmasberry or California Holly for its brilliant red berry clusters from November through January. It’s a large evergreen shrub, with thick, leathery, glossy green leaves 2 to 4 inches long. It has small white flowers in flattish clusters, which bloom June through July. Toyon requires full sun and can tolerate low moisture. It attracts birds. — BeWaterWise.com

 Heteromeles arbutifolia (/ˌhɛtɨrɵˈmlz ɑrˌbjuːtɨˈfliə/;[4] more commonly /hɛtəˈrɒməlz/ by Californian botanists), commonly known as toyon, is a common perennial shrub native to extreme southwest Oregon,[citation needed] California and Baja California.

Toyon is a prominent component of the coastal sage scrub plant community, and is a part of drought-adapted chaparral and mixed oak woodland habitats.[5] It is also known by the common names Christmas berry and California holly. Accordingly, “the abundance of this species in the hills above Los Angeles… gave rise to the name Hollywood.”[6]

It is the sole species of Heteromeles, but is closely related to the Asian genus Photinia.

Toyon typically grows from 2–5 m (rarely up to 10 m in shaded conditions) and has a rounded to irregular top. Its leaves are evergreen, alternate, sharply toothed, have short petioles, and are 5–10 cm in length and 2–4 cm wide. In the early summer it produces small white flowers 6–10 mm diameter in dense terminal corymbs.

The five petals are rounded. The fruit is a small pome,[7] 5–10 mm across, bright red and berry-like, produced in large quantities, maturing in the fall and persisting well into the winter. — Wikipedia

More information on California Lilac (Ceanothus)  :
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Previously in the Interesting Plant series: 

Interesting Plant is a series from A Gardener’s Notebook blog and podcast that highlights the most interesting plants I find in my Internet and real-world travels — Douglas

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