Toyon Flowers

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a native shrub endemic to California, although some say it occurs in extreme Southeast Oregon too. With its evergreen leaves and bright red berries that persist throughout the winter, H arbutifolia is also commonly called California holly and Christmas berry. As with so many shrubs, the flowering season is short and the blooms are not seen as often.

In June  Leonard and I found toyon in bloom along Salt Creek Trail in Redding CA (Shasta County). The pictured red berries were photographed in November where the Trinity River joins the Klamath River in Northern California.

Toyon flowers occur in terminal clusters. The small flowers have five sepals and five white, rounded, spreading petals. The ten stamens occur in pairs, while there may be 2 or 3 pistils.

The genus name is formed from Greek and Latin roots and probably refers to the red fruits which are pomes, like apples: “heter” means different and “malus” is apple. The species, arbutifolia, means “having leaves like a madrone (Arbutus)”.

On 11-09-2016 I posted “Toyon” which describes this shrub in further detail.


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