Yesterday the Los Angeles City Council named Toyon as the city’s official plant. Heteromeles arbutifolia commonly known as Toyon, is a perennial shrub native to California and Baja California.

Toyon is a prominent component of the coastal sage scrub plant community, and is a part of drought-adapted chaparral and mixed oak woodland habitats. It is also known by the common names Christmas berry and California holly.

The berries provided food for local Native American tribes, such as Chumash, Tongva, and Tataviam. The berries also can be made into a jelly. Native Americans also made a tea from the leaves as a stomach remedy. Most were dried and stored, then later cooked into porridge or pancakes.
Later settlers added sugar to make custard and wine.

In the 1920s, collecting toyon branches for Christmas became so popular in Los Angeles, California that the State of California passed a law forbidding collecting on public land. – Wikipedia

Photo by Miguel Viera.