Sunday, February 20, 2011

toyon ~ 02/20/11 ~ Garland Ranch

toyon / Christmas berry
Heteromeles arbutifolia

Despite their bright red berries, I've usually ignored this plant during hikes. Quite honestly, I prefer to look for pretty spring flowers. It's thanks to fellow blogger GretchenJoanna at Gladsome Lights and her comment a couple weeks back mentioning toyon. The common name strikes me as a bit funny; I keep thinking back to those Toyota commercials with people jumping in the air, since I have a couple friends with old, beat-up, red Toyota trucks - funny how the brain works. So, when we checked out the Garland Ranch Visitor Center for a little pre-hike pit stop and to check out the current blooms (they cut flowers and place ID tags for people to see what's currently blooming), the name toyon jumped out at me. They had samples of the red berries but not the white blooms. I'll be on the look-out for the white flowers later this summer. Sure enough, the worn out red berries weren't difficult to find. To help me find toyon blooms later, I made a mental note of the finely serrated leaves and the height of the shrubs. For more information, check out Las Pilitas Nursery.

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