Plant of the Month: Dec. 2012


Toyon, Christmas Berry

Heteromeles arbutifolia


  • Plant Form: Evergreen shrub/tree
  • Water Use: Low

    Christmas Berry or Toyon

    Toyon or Christmas Berry – an evergreen beauty with berries for the holidays

  • Mature Size: 8-10’ (to 25’) tall & 8-10’ wide
  • Exposure: Full Sun, Part sun
  • Bloom Time: June – August
  • Native to: Southern California
  • Hardiness: Cold Hardy to 0° F


Toyon, also called Christmas Berry and California Holly, is an evergreen shrub or small tree from California’s chaparral communities. This very adaptable, dense shrub is valued for its holly-like foliage, clusters of white flowers in summer, and showy bright red berries all winter that are popular for Christmas decorations, and relished by birds. Fire resistant if watered every 2 weeks during spring and summer. Toyon can be pruned into a handsome tree, or left in its natural form for a dense evergreen border or privacy screen as a native substitute for oleander.