Alphabetical Plant Listing

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon)

Toyon, California Christmas Berry, Christmas Berry, California Holly, Hollywood, Heteromeles salicifolia


Prized for its foliage, flowers and berries, Heteromeles arbutifolia (Toyon) is a handsome evergreen shrub or small tree with a rounded crown clothed with rosettes of leathery, sharply toothed, dark green leaves, 2 in. long (5 cm). Blooming profusely in summer, small white flowers appear in terminal flat topped clusters. They attract butterflies and other insects, and have a mild, hawthorn-like fragrance. Shining against the foliage, they are followed in fall and winter by great quantities of pea-sized bright red berries, which persist well into the winter and are popular for Christmas decorations. The berries are relished by birds and small mammals and used to be cooked and eaten by Native Americans. A handsome shrub worthy of inclusion in the landscape, as a screen or hedge. Since it is fire retardant when given enough moisture, it can be planted near houses. A most beautiful California native that is easy to grow.

  • Grows usually up to 6-8 ft. high (180-240 cm) and 4-5 ft. wide (12-150 cm) but  can reach 15-25 ft. tall (450-750 cm) and 8-15 ft. wide (240-450 cm) over time.
  • A full sun to part shade lover, this plant is easily grown in poor, dry, well-drained soils. Adaptable, it can handle a wide variety of soils, including clay, sand and serpentine. Water twice per month in summer after the plant is established. Drought tolerant after the first few years, but looks better with moderate irrigation.
  • Perfect for banks and slopes (erosion control), as a specimen or accent plant, hedges. Great in Mediterranean gardens.
  • Susceptible to fire blight, black mildew, scales and thrip, sudden oak death, armillaria and root rot.
  • Propagation by seed but germination is slow.
  • Native to California.

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Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 11
Climate Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' – 8' (180cm – 240cm)
Spread 4' – 5' (120cm – 150cm)
Spacing 48" – 60" (120cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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Debbie Ballentine, Molly, California Native Plant Society (Flickr)

While every effort has been made to describe these plants accurately, please keep in mind that height, bloom time, and color may differ in various climates. The description of these plants has been written based on numerous outside resources.


Requirements

Hardiness 9 – 11
Climate Zones 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Plant Type Shrubs, Trees
Exposure Full Sun, Partial Sun
Season of Interest Spring (Early,Mid,Late)
Summer (Early,Mid,Late)
Fall
Winter
Height 6' – 8' (180cm – 240cm)
Spread 4' – 5' (120cm – 150cm)
Spacing 48" – 60" (120cm – 150cm)
Water Needs Low, Average
Maintenance Low
Soil Type Clay, Loam, Sand
Soil pH Acid, Alkaline, Neutral
Soil Drainage Well-Drained
Characteristics Showy, Evergreen, Fruit & Berries
Tolerance Deer, Drought
Attracts Birds, Butterflies
Garden Uses Banks and Slopes, Hedges and Screens
Garden Styles Mediterranean Garden

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