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Heteromeles arbutifolia
Heteromeles arbutifolia

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Zones 5-9, 14-24
Full SunPartial Sun
Full, Partial
Regular WaterMinimal Water
Moderate, Minimal

Heteromeles arbutifolia

Evergreen, Shrubs, Trees, Decorative fruit or berries

Native to the California Coast Ranges, Sierra Nevada foothills, and  Baja California. Grows as a dense shrub 6–10 ft. tall and broad or a multitrunked small tree 15–25 ft. tall and spreading almost as wide (can be pruned to form a single-trunked tree). Thick, leathery, glossy dark green leaves are 2–4 in. long, edged with bristly, pointed teeth. Small white flowers in flattish clusters appear in summer; these are followed in fall to winter by pea-size bright red (rarely yellow) berries, much relished by birds. Flowers attract bees.

This holly-like plant, which bears its red berries in winter (like holly), is said by some to have given Hollywood its name. Others disagree.

H. a. macrocarpa, from Southern California’s Channel Islands, has larger berries.

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