heteromeles arbutifolia

The toyon berries are putting on a good show right now. This is the shrub for which Hollywood is named, though it’s not a type of holly at all. Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia) is a prominent component of the coastal sage scrub plant community, and a part of drought-adapted chaparral and mixed oak woodland habitats. It is the sole species in the genus Heteromeles.

Butterflies, bees and hummingbirds love the summer flowers, and the autumn berries are devoured by a large variety of birds, including cedar waxwings, quail, towhees, Western bluebirds, robins, and mockingbirds.

oak glade

I slipped into a part of the State Park I hadn’t visited before, and followed a deer trail under overhanging boughs, to discover this secluded open glade within a circle of coast live oaks. I lay down on the thick bedding of dry, prickly leaves, my sketching bag as a pillow, and watched the dappled light dance above me.

For a few minutes, I stopped thinking about what the US Supreme Court did yesterday. I just breathed.