Summary of toyon and its traditional use

Kumeyaay name: hosiill

Toyon (Heteromeles arbutifolia)


Toyon is a common, perennial shrub that is native to California, northern Baja and parts of the Pacific Northwest. This shrub commonly grows 4-6 feet in height and is a prominent member of the oak woodland and chaparral plant community. Toyon grows abundantly in the hills near Hollywood. Interestingly, the name ‘hollywood’ is a reference to a common name for toyon, which is California holly.

The Kumeyaay pound the leaves of the toyon to produce a pulp. This pulp is used to wash sores. The fruit from this plant is also consumed as food. The bark and leaves of toyon are useful in washing out wounds.



Toyon growing near Cabrillo Point in San Diego.