Heteromeles arbutifolia

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Heteromeles arbutifolia
Heteromeles arbutifolia
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Species Name: Heteromeles arbutifolia
Common Name: Toyon

Beautiful red berries attract many songbirds in winter. Recommended as privacy screen. Takes pruning well, but flowers only on second year growth. Hollywood was named for this plant, which used to cover the hillsides there.

Plant Family: Rosaceae
Plant Type: Shrub
Height by Width: 8-15' H x 10-15' W
Growth Habit: Large shrub or small tree
Deciduous/Evergreen: Evergreen
Growth Rate: Fast
Sun Exposure: Full to part sun
Soil Preference: Adaptable
Water Requirements: Drought-tolerant to moderate
Cold Hardy to: 25 degrees F
Flower Season: Summer
Flower Color: White
Endangered?: Not listed
Distribution: California Floristic Province, and into Baja, CA
Natural Habitat: Chaparral, oak woodland, mixed evergreen forest, below 3,900'

Songbird iconA.jpg Oak iconA.jpg Butterfly iconA.jpg Clay iconA.jpg Slope iconA.jpg

Care and Maintenance

  • Introduced into cultivation in California by Theodore Payne.
  • From California Native Plants, Theodore Payne's 1941 catalog: "One of the most beautiful and useful of the native shrubs. Desirable the year round for its handsome foliage: in the spring and early summer for its large clusters of white flowers and in the fall and winter for its attractive red berries. Planted as single specimens or in groups it is a cheerful object the year round. Easy to grow, will thrive with very little water if necessary and will stand ordinary garden culture quite well. Can also be grown into tree form and makes an excellent small tree for parkway planting. Also known as Christmas berry."
Other Names
  • Bornstein, Carol, David Fross, and Bart O'Brien. California Native Plants for the Garden. Los Olivos, CA: Cachuma Press. 2005.
  • Harlow, Nora and Kristin Jakob. Wild Lilies, Irises, and Grasses: Gardening with California Monocots. Berkely and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press. 2003.