The Hills Are Alive with California Holly

November 13, 2010 § 1 Comment

Toyon on the Castillo del Lago-Wolf's Lair Trail/All photos Hope Anderson Productions

My search for native holly (toyon) has brought mixed results over the past five years. The year I moved to Beachwood was an exceedingly dry one, and the next fall saw very few berries. Without them, the toyon is unimpressive–just another tree along the trail. Then there’s the question of when the berries, if any, will turn red, an event of brief duration that is easily missed. Disappointingly, the berries seem to turn red well before Christmas–but again, it depends on rainfall.

So while hiking the trail between Castillo del Lago and Wolf’s Lair yesterday, I was surprised to come upon a riot of red berries on the trees there. The fact that it we’ve had four rainstorms since the beginning of  October must be the cause: the trail is as lush as it normally is in January.

 The tree pictured at top is enormous, a wall of green leaves and red berries.

Merry Christmas from Hollywoodland!–six weeks early.

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