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.

Erythrina fusca

The coral tree (Erythrina fusca) is the official city tree of Los Angeles, and is widely planted in frost-free areas. We have large one at our place, and while it needs annual pruning, we never cut back as far as this specimen. I feel sad for street trees that get pruned to within an inch of their lives.

phyllocnistis citrella

The citrus leafminer is a very small, light coloured moth that arrived in California from Mexico in 2000 and has now spread throughout most of California. I’ve never seen an adult, but the larval action is very evident in my yard, especially on the young lime trees. They only infest fresh growth, which of course is just about all a little tree has!

I’ve been removing the affected leaves, but today I read that it’s not a good idea, because it just creates even more fresh growth for the larvae to mine. Apparently the insects will die off over the cooler months; here’s hoping, too, that natural predators come along to help create balance.

tropical beauties

I think this Golden Orb Weaver is Trichonephila plumipes, sometimes called a Tiger Spider. Its web glows yellow, and the legs are a light orange colour, black at the joints. Big spiders are so impressive! This type is not confined to the tropics, so I hope to see more when travel to the sub-tropics.

There are some 750 different types of pandanus; I have no idea which one I was sketching! I love their aerial prop roots.