Pacific Island Ecosystems at Risk (PIER)

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Heteromeles arbutifolia
(Lindl.) M.Roem., Rosaceae
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Present on Pacific Islands?  yes

Primarily a threat at high elevations?  no

Risk assessment results:  High risk, score: 9 (Go to the risk assessment)

Other Latin names:  Heteromeles salicifolia (C. Presl) Abrams; Photinia arbutifolia Lindl.; Photinia salicifolia C. Presl

Common name(s): [more details]

English: California-holly, Christmasberry

Spanish: tollon, toyon

Habit:  shrub/tree

Description:  "Toyon is a native, broad-leaved, sclerophyllous, arborescent shrub which typically grows from 6 to 10 feet (1.8 to 3 m) tall.  On more favorable sites toyon may occasionally attain tree stature, reaching heights of approximately 33 feet (10 m); however, in these instances it typically retains a shrublike form.  Plants are erect, freely branched, and unarmed.  Older branches have gray bark. The dense foliage is composed of simple, evergreen leaves which are from 2 to 4 inches (5 to 10 cm) long and arranged alternately on the stem; leaf margins are sharply toothed and bristly pointed.  The inconspicuous, bisexual flowers are white in color and occur in loose, somewhat flat, terminal clusters.  The bright red, berrylike fruits are approximately 0.25 inch (5 to 6 mm) in diameter and contain one or two, small brown seeds.  Toyon has a strong and much-branched root system that is deeply penetrating and wide spreading.  Feeder roots are abundant in the surface humus around the plant base as well as elsewhere throughout the extensive root system.  In response to repeated postburn sprouting, toyon sometimes develops an enlarged rootcrown which is irregularly shaped and platformlike; this structure, however, is not a lignotuber.  Longevity of toyon is estimated to be from 100 to 200 years"  (McMurray, Nancy E. 1990.  In: Fire Effects Information System).

"Shrub or small tree generally < 5 m; trunk bark grayish; twigs puberulent; leaves simple, evergreen, short-petioled; blade 4-11 cm, elliptic to oblong, leathery, sharply toothed, shiny dark green above, dull and paler below; inflorescence a panicle, terminal, ± open, flat-topped; flowers many, hypanthium 2-3 mm, ± obconic; sepals 1-2 mm; petals 2-4 mm, white; stamens 10 in pairs opposite sepals; pistil 1, ovary ± inferior, 2-3-chambered, styles 2-3; fruit a pome, 5-10 mm in diameter, bright red, pulp mealy; seeds 3-6, compressed, brown" (Jepson Manual online).

"It has simple, alternate, evergreen, coriaceous leaves 4-11 cm long, upper surface shiny dark green, the lower surface dull and paler, the margins sharply serrate.  Flowers in terminal open, flat-topped panicles; hypanthium 2-3 mm long; sepals 1-2 mm long; petals 2-4 mm long, white; stamens 10 in pairs opposite the sepals.  Fruit 5-10 mm in diameter, bright red with mealy pulp, containing 3-6 compressed brown seeds"  (Herbst and Wagner, 1996; p. 12).

Habitat/ecology:  In California (U.S.) (native): "chaparral, oak woodland, mixed-evergreen forest, < 1300 m" (Jepson Manual online).

Propagation:  Seed, spread by birds (Staples et al, 2000; p. 28).

Native range:  California and Baja California (GRIN).

Presence:

Pacific
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Hawai‘i (Big) Island introduced
invasive
cultivated
Herbst, Derral R./Wagner, Warren L. (1996) (p. 12)
Vouchers cited: Herbst 1187 (BISH), R. Bachman s.n. (BISH)
Sparingly naturalized.
State of Hawaii
Hawaiian Islands
Maui Island   National Tropical Botanical Garden (U.S.A. Hawaii. Kalaheo.) (year unknown) (voucher ID: PTBG 33584)
Taxon name on voucher: Heteromeles arbutifolia
Pacific Rim
Country/Terr./St. &
Island group
Location Cited status &
Cited as invasive &
Cited as cultivated &
Cited as aboriginal introduction?
Reference &
Comments
Mexico
Mexico
Mexico (United Mexican States) native
U.S. Dept. Agr., Agr. Res. Serv. (2013)
Baja Norte, Baja Sur
United States (west coast)
United States (west coast states)
USA (California) native
Hickman, J. C. (1993)


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This page was created on 3 SEP 2012 and was last updated on 29 SEP 2012.