Don Bauder 7:30 p.m., Aug. 29
Poinsettias & Christmas-Berries
Poinsettias, a favorite of backyard gardeners, are now exhibiting their scarlet, petal-like bracts, just in time for the holidays. The onset of 14-hour-long nights triggers their behavior. In San Diego this condition is met just before the date of winter solstice -- December 21.
Toyon, or "Christmas-berry," one of the more distinctive shrubs of Southern California's native chaparral plant community, has begun to flaunt clusters of red berries. Here in coastal San Diego, toyon can be found wherever large patches of native vegetation survive, but especially in the thick chaparral covering some north-facing slopes. Toyon branches may look inviting to cut as a Christmas wreath -- but they're protected by California state law. Toyon is also sometimes referred to the "holly of Hollywood," because it grows abundantly in the Hollwood Hills and in L.A.'s Griffith Park, near Hollywood.