The hills are dotted with the beautiful fruit of the Toyon. You'll see them on dry slopes, usually about six to ten feet tall, shiny green leaves, and bright red berries. The scientific name of this common shrub is Heteromeles arbutifolia. Toyon adapts to a broad habitat in California and into Baja California. It grows as an evergreen shrub or small tree on semi-arid foothills and in dry canyons in the Coastal Range and along the western slopes of the Sierra.
Toyon is also known as "California Holly" and "Christmas Berry." Seen covered with shiny scarlet berries among its thick, holly-like green leaves in midwinter these nicknames are well deserved. As it grew upon the foothills above a then new Southern California subdivision, Toyon's nickname gave its name to "Hollywood Hills." Toyon is cultivated by gardeners. It is drought resistant, provides blooms of creamy white in spring, presents scarlet berries in fall, and tolerates shaping by pruning.
Now you know where the name "Hollywood" came from.