This large shrub can grow in average to over 15 feet tall, with white flowers in the spring and bright, red berries in winter. While not related to the true holly, the look of it is similar enough to be nicknamed California holly. In fact, Hollywood supposedly got its name from the abundance of toyon present in the area. Because of this resemblance, local residents once used toyon in holiday decorations. This led to over-picking the plant, so California outlawed harvesting wild toyon it in the 1920s.
The bright berries are out now, and you can take a break from the holiday rush to go see them in Buck Gully. The Buck Gully Reserve is a natural, coastal canyon of more than 300 acres. The City of Newport Beach and Irvine Ranch Conservancy work together in Buck Gully to provide well maintained trails and habitat restoration programs.
Please visit www.LetsGoOutside.org for information about upcoming events.