Saturday, November 6, 2010

Toyon

A friend mentioned that I hadn't posted any photos from Hahamongna Watershed Park lately. She thought maybe I hadn't been going there.

I've been going, all right. I take pictures there all the time. I'm just afraid you'll get bored if I post as many as I've got. But okay. Here's a seasonal shot of the upper path on the east side of the park. A branch loaded with toyon berries hangs across the path.

Toyon grows all over the place here and this time of year we see the berries everywhere. Animals eat them--everyone from birds to coyotes. Humans eat them, too. I've never tried them but the Tongva people who once lived here did, and they made a medicinal tea from the leaves.

The Tongva people still live here, actually.

25 comments:

Shell Sherree said...

Well, I've not heard of Toyon before, but I'm all for natural medicines. My wv is denti. I wonder if Toyon's good for teeth.

Joanne said...

I'm a walker, walking anywhere and everywhere possible. This looks like a beautiful place to explore on foot. Of course, I'm on the other coast, but I can live vicariously through your photos :)

Petrea said...

Hi Shell, I don't know the answer. It might make your teeth red, but why not?

Good morning, Joanne. Hahamongna has miles of trails. They connect with trails that lead into Angeles National Forest and the San Gabriel mountains. Some are closed now because of last year's Station Fire, but it's a beautiful place to walk nonetheless.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

When I was a kid, that upper trail was the trail we used to ride our horses up to the mountains on. In fact that house you pass surrounded by fencing was open. Part of the forestry service (I think).

Tongva: they've been creating a community center from another abandoned US Forestry service structure. It's the one in the parking lot (off the 2) at the beginning of the road that leads up to Mount Wilson.

Pasadena Adjacent said...

if your on-line go outside and check out the sunrise....quick

wv shise


rise and shise

Petrea said...

All the houses up there are surrounded by fencing. Do you mean the one up by JPL? Or the ranger station?
I wish the Tongva good luck with their community center.

I can't really see to the east from here, but I watched the clouds above Mount Wilson go from black to purple to pink to grey in the span of about three minutes just now. It was spectacular.

Bellis said...

I hope someone got photos of that sunrise. I only saw fluffy pink clouds, most unusual - our sunrises are usually shrouded in marine layer.

PA's probably thinking of the place that now belongs to Pasadena Parks and Recreation. It's worth going in there to see the old photos of Hahamongna when it was a barren gravel pit, John Cox would make you welcome.

The red berries of toyon are a reminder that Xmas is coming. In the 1920s, so many people were raiding the forest to gather it as a holly substitute that they had to pass a law banning it. I wonder if that law still stands? That branch in the photo would make a lovely wall swag (only kidding).

Mister Earl said...

"The most famous example of 'collective drunkenness' in birds is that of American robins... Once they reach California, flocks of thousands of robins (the species Turdus migratorius) perch on small ornamental trees popularly known as California holly, though the Native Americans of the region call this scarlet fruit toyon. At this time of year the trees are laden with scarlet fruits called Christmas or holly berries. The robins, and other kinds of birds as well, gorge themselves on these fruits, bingeing until they are blatantly drunk."

"Its profusion in the Los Angeles hills and resemblance to European holly also inspired the name 'Hollywood.'"

Bellis said...

Thanks for the extra info, Mr. Earl I look forward to coming across drunken birds falling off branches and stumbling around on the ground, singing loudly in a slightly slurred way and hurling the occasional abuse at passers-by. Wonder if they get a hangover?

By the way, when I said there was a law banning toyon, I meant toyon berry picking. I'd love to have some in my garden.

Petrea said...

Is that place open weekdays, Bellis? Or just when I see the truck there?

Toyon in the garden. Excellent idea! Then I can watch from my back porch while the birds get soused.

Great info, Mister Earl, thank you.

Susan Campisi said...

This is such great information about Toyon. You captured a beautiful picture of it. I love how the berries form a red canopy over the trail.

A Tongva woman made an eloquent plea to save Hahamaongna from soccer fields at the City Council meeting in July. I couldn't believe it didn't sway those members that had already made up their minds to build the fields.

Does anyone know the status of the environmental impact statement? I think that was the next step and the last hope to prevent the fields from being built.

TheChieftess said...

Mr E...you took the words right out of my mouth and spruced them up a bit!!! We had Califonia Holly in our backyard when I was growing up...I learned early on that they were actually Toyon berries...Never did see a drunken bird though....

wv: trilly...the drunken bird was a bit trilly!!!

West Coast Grrlie Blather said...

Don't be afraid of us---go with your gut. Lovely photo.

Mister Earl said...

I think Toyon is very similar, and is in the same family as Pyrocantus, but I think the latter is not native. They both get birds drunk. Am I the only one who has seen drunken birds flying randomly around the red berries?

How to stop the soccer fields: The Tongva needs to sue a come in with plans for a casino there. Suddenly, all the soccer field supporters will discover their inner John Muirs.

WV: hortguk: the results of drunken birds.

altadenahiker said...

Yes, I know we're not the only species that enjoys altering our consciousness, given half a chance. I'd give anything to see the robins tie one on.

Speedway said...

We have some trees here in Indiana that produce red berries, but they're definitely not holly berries. On a snowy winter day earlier this year, I saw a grouping of those trees surrounded by robins, each giving the others the "professional courtesy," of allowing personal space to eat without interference. Those birds that weren't on the branches were on the ground, gorging themselves on the berries. It never occurred to me they might be binge drinking, so to speak.

By the way, what is "wv"?

Mister Earl said...

Speedway: WV is Word Verification - the word you need to type in when posting a comment. Sometimes we think they're worthy of sharing.

Petrea said...

Thanks for answering that, Mister Earl.

Susan, I don't know the status of the Environmental Impact Report (I think they call it an EIR). I bet I know who would know.

Thank you, grrlie. More to come.

Thank you all. I love it when the conversation goes along happily on its own.

Ms M said...

Glad you posted this photo. I've seen trees with berries like that in yards around here, but never knew what it was. Lovely fall scene. :)

Pasadena Adjacent said...

the house/station is on the edge of the cul-de-sac where we park our cars

For you Bellis. I live on a hill. This is looking east through the South Pasadena Valley. Those peaks you see in the far distance are Saddle Back Mountain. Part of the Santa Ana range in Orange County. One more reason I like living in the Highlands

Petrea said...

So, Ms. M, that tells me the plant isn't restricted to the south. Perhaps the west?

That's the place Bellis suspected, PA.
Was that this morning's sunrise? Wow.

Bellis said...

That was a beautiful sunrise, PA. Thanks so much for posting it. I'm never up early enough to see the sun rising in the east - but this evening's sunset in the west was also pretty good.

It'll be harder to see sunrises from now on, as we change the clocks tonight. And it'll be sunset at 10 to 5, yikes!

John Cox's place is open during working hours in the week - he or his assistant are usually there. I found one of the lampshades for the lights on the dam road and returned it to him. Almost all of them have been fixed now, but I've never seen the whole row lit.

Petrea said...

I've never seen it completely lit, either, Bellis. I'd love to, though it's beautiful in its imperfection.

JCK said...

Now, see. I had this all wrong. I had no idea it was Toyon or edible. Love the berries. Use them in Christmas arrangements on my mantle.

Petrea said...

Hi JCK: do they stay fresh or do you put them in water?