New Front Yard: Toyon berries add winter color

03/01/2014 12:00 AM

10/04/2014 12:45 AM

This is one part in a weekly series featuring the UC Davis Arboretum “New Front Yard” series, 41 drought-tolerant and beautiful plants well adapted to our region.

Toyon or Christmas berry

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Size: 10 to 15 feet tall

Bloom season: Spring

Pruning needs: Little or none.

Exposure: Full sun to partial shade.

Water needs: Once established, water deeply every two weeks.

Snapshot: Native to most of California, this handsome shrub with leathery, dark-green leaves blooms in spring, but its winter berries make it a standout. Throughout the colder months, large clusters of berries decorate the plant, giving it the nicknames “Christmas Berry” or “California Holly.” In fact, toyon’s holly monicker gave Hollywood its name; Hollywood’s hills were filled with toyon. Native toyon has red berries, but the university’s arboretum has developed a toyon with golden fruit. Appropriately called “Davis Gold,” this hybrid is a UC Davis exclusive. Toyon berries are a favorite food of the cedar waxwing, a bird that migrates through the Central Valley. You can see both yellow- and red-berried toyon specimens in the arboretum’s Mary Wattis Brown Garden of California native plants on the UC Davis campus.

• For more on the New Front Yard, click on arboretum.ucdavis.edu.

More online

See photo galleries of the arboretum’s Community Favorites and Arboretum All-Stars at sacbee.com/home_garden .

Entertainment Videos

 

Join the Discussion

The Sacramento Bee is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service