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Toyon, also called Christmasberry, is a large shrub in the rose family. It is commonly found in the drier foothill areas of California, along with oaks, ghost pine, chamise, manzanita, and other such plants. The shrub itself is not overly noticable.. it has large serrated leaves which usually are a dusty brownish green. However, in late fall the plant produces large clusters of bright red berries. These were often used as Christmas decorations, thus the name Christmasberry.

This shrub is an important part of the chaparral community, offering shelter and food for animals, as well as erosion control. It can be used horticulturally too... it lacks the 'cultured' look of some of the more commonly-used shrubs as it is more open and spindly... but if you're like me, you might prefer a more 'informal' looking plant. The red berries are very showy, and if youre lucky, you might be able to find a yellow-berried subspecies as well.

The scientific name for Toyon is Heteromeles arbutifolia

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