My friend, Keri, over at Animalbytes.net has a great write up on one of our California natives and what it provides for the animals that live here. Keri always has lots of great content on the animals and environment of California on her blog. I highly recommend you check it out — Animalbytes.net.
If you need evidence that Southern California has received less rain than normal, all you have to do is look at the plants.
Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a native shrub in our chaparral. The dark green, toothed leaves and red berries in winter resemble holly. Newcomers to southern California called it California holly. “Hollywoodland,” the name a real estate developer first used to market homes built into the foothills northwest of Los Angeles, refers to the red-berried toyon plants that were on the hillsides. When the letters spelling “land” fell down what remained was the “Hollywood” sign.