Nature’s Notebook

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Photo for species Heteromeles_arbutifolia

The red berries of this species provided food for local Native American tribes and can be made into a jelly. A tea from the leaves was used to treat stomach maladies. A variety of birds and mammals feed on the fruits.

Photo Credit:
© R.A. Seelig, courtesy of Smithsonian Institution

Heteromeles arbutifolia

toyon
What does this species look like?
What does this species look like?: 

Toyon is a perennial shrub that typically reaches a height of 2 to 5 meters with a rounded shape. Its leaves are evergreen, leathery, alternate, and sharply toothed with short petioles. They are 4 to 11 centimeters long and 4 centimeters wide. The flowers are small and white with five rounded petals, 2 to 4 millimeters long, and 10 stamens.  The flowers are found in clusters at the end of stems. The bright red fruits are 5 to 10 millimeters in diameter.

This species is found in coastal sage scrub, chaparral, and mixed oak woodland plant communities at elevations less than 1300 meters.

Where is this species found?
States & Provinces: 
CA, HI
Which phenophases should I observe?
Leaves

Do you see...?

Young leaves
One or more young, unfolded leaves are visible on the plant. A leaf is considered "young" and "unfolded" once its entire length has emerged from the breaking bud so that the leaf stalk (petiole) or leaf base is visible at its point of attachment to the stem, but before the leaf has reached full size or turned the darker green color or tougher texture of mature leaves on the plant. Do not include fully dried or dead leaves.

How many young leaves are present?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

Flowers

Do you see...?

Flowers or flower buds
One or more fresh open or unopened flowers or flower buds are visible on the plant. Include flower buds that are still developing, but do not include wilted or dried flowers.

How many flowers and flower buds are present? For species in which individual flowers are clustered in flower heads, spikes or catkins (inflorescences), simply estimate the number of flower heads, spikes or catkins and not the number of individual flowers.

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Open flowers
One or more open, fresh flowers are visible on the plant. Flowers are considered "open" when the reproductive parts (male stamens or female pistils) are visible between or within unfolded or open flower parts (petals, floral tubes or sepals). Do not include wilted or dried flowers.

What percentage of all fresh flowers (buds plus unopened plus open) on the plant are open? For species in which individual flowers are clustered in flower heads, spikes or catkins (inflorescences), estimate the percentage of all individual flowers that are open.

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

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Fruits

Do you see...?

Fruits
One or more fruits are visible on the plant. For Heteromeles arbutifolia, the fruit is a berry-like and changes from green to bright red'

How many fruits are present?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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Ripe fruits
One or more ripe fruits are visible on the plant. For Heteromeles arbutifolia, a fruit is considered ripe when it has turned bright red'

What percentage of all fruits (unripe plus ripe) on the plant are ripe?

Less than 5%;5-24%;25-49%;50-74%;75-94%;95% or more

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Recent fruit or seed drop
One or more mature fruits or seeds have dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit. Do not include obviously immature fruits that have dropped before ripening, such as in a heavy rain or wind, or empty fruits that had long ago dropped all of their seeds but remained on the plant.

How many mature fruits have dropped seeds or have completely dropped or been removed from the plant since your last visit?

Less than 3;3 to 10;11 to 100;101 to 1,000;1,001 to 10,000;More than 10,000

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