|Photo by Joyce Docent|
California Holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia)
This is another one of those interesting plants and easy to grow if you want a low maintenance. It's also a perfect wildlife attracting plant for your landscape. Unlike some other Hollys which are inedible to us and perhaps toxic to kids, this one is a safe choice and there are some recipes out there on the Internet for making jams and I've personally used them as a snack with brown sugar in the oven. Birds are the first wildlife that come to mind like Blue ScrubJays, American Robins, Mockingbirds and even Cedar Waxwings. In fact the very first time I ever saw or even knew Cedar Waxwings were even in California was when I was at work on a coffee break and a hedge row of California Holly which looked more like small trees than shrubs, had three of them feeding on the berries which hang on the shrub till well into late winter. It was really exciting to observe them actually living there.
|Photo by Lorcan Keating|
|Photo by Jay Thesken|
|Photo by JR Crompton|
Some of the other important colour the flower blooms bring to your garden are the Monarch and Swallowtail Butterflies.
This is also another plant I have found near Native American archeological site where you find evidence of their past presence by those Metate Gringing Holes drilled into hard granite rock slabs or boulders where they crushed Acorns and other grains or seeds into flour for baking bread. There are a great many plants that I use to identify for actually finding archeological sites. The Native Americans name for California Holly is actually 'Toyon' which is also used today by gardeners, landscapers and Native Plant Nurseries. Other associated plants and shrubs of note when looking for these Indian Kitichen sites are the native Prickly Pear Cactus and Mexican Elderberry. It could be said and there appears to be evidence that these plants were deliberately planted by the natives themselves as a convenient part of their pantry, since almost every site I've ever visited or discovered had all these plants present.