©The World Botanical Associates Web Page
Prepared by Richard W. Spjut
Nov. 2005

Heteromeles arbutifolia
Christmas berry
San Diego Co., Valley Center, CA
Nov 2005


Trees and Shrubs of Kern County (Dec 2012)

Heteromeles arbutifolia (Photina arbutifolia Lindley 1821) M. Roemer 1847.  Christmas berry, Toyon.  Large evergreen shrub or small tree to 10 m; stems arising from a red massive underground burl; bark gray, reddish on twigs; leaves large, broad elliptical to wider above mid region, 3–5× longer than wide, 5–10 cm, darker green above than below, with prominent pinnate and reticulate veins on upper surface; flowers Jun–Aug, on terminal branched scapes above the leafy stems, white ; fruit often maturing red in Dec, similar to an apple in anatomy (pome) but smaller, ellipsoid, 5–10 mm.  A common California chaparral species in montane regions below 4,000 ft from Siskiyou and Humboldt cos. south to the Sierra Juarez in Baja California, occurring at scattered locations further south to the Cape Region, also Channel Islands, exterminated by goats from Isla Guadalupe. Type from Monterey, CA.  Kern Co. Rare: Known only from Cedar Canyon in the Temblor Range, ~25 senescent shrubs discovered in 1961 in Dons Canyon,  a fork of upper Cedar Canyon, California juniper association .  Most plants infested by a fungus, Gymnosporangium exiguum  F. Kern 1908 (Twisselmann), 549 m (CCH).