Saturday, December 5, 2015

Red Car Canyon: Native Toyon Blooming Way Out Of Season

Photo: Diane Edwardson, December 3, 2015.  Native Toyon is starting to bloom throughout the Red Car Property and bees are flocking to it.  (Click on photo to enlarge.)

In our neighborhood, Toyon usually blooms in May and June, with red berries showing up for Christmas.  Take a look at the  dates on our earlier Toyon related posts.  Once again, an inch of rain in July and 3" in one day in September has the growing season all screwed up. It is as if the native plants decided to make the most of the rain just in case we don't get any more.  Now that's really "drought adapted."

According to the US Forest Service, Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a fire resistant native shrub that does well on steep slopes, aiding in erosion control.  In our neighborhood, steep slopes are where you find Toyon.

The ripe berries are eaten by birds and mammals.  However, CalFlora lists the toxicity as MAJOR.  Here's a thought, just don't eat them.  Leave the native plants to wildlife.  The drought has affected plants and wildlife alike.

Disclaimer: The Corralitas Red Car Property Blog prefers to quote reliable sources, such as CalFlora and California Poison Control on the issue of toxicity.  We often get email suggesting some plants are edible. If you are eating your way through the Red Car Property, we DO NOT recommend you eat any plant you find in the Red Car Property neighborhood without first doing your own research.