Did you hear Los Angeles has an official city plant?

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Photo: Stan Shebs

Heteromeles arbutifolia. That’s the fancy botanical for the Toyon, a drought-tolerant, Southern California shrub that this week became Los Angeles’ official municipal plant thanks to a vote by the L.A. City Council. The Toyon is going to be used to replant the grounds of City Hall park, which was torn up during last year’s Occupy L.A. encampment and reopens next month.

The Toyon becomes L.A.’s favorite plant the very same week the Golden State observes California Native Plant Week. I got into a home and garden mood and talked to well-known horticulturist Lili Singer about the Toyon and other plants to consider if you want to plant more native plants in your own backyard or balcony garden.  Take note: it’s good for your water bill.

If you want to find out more about California natives, go to www.theodorepayne.org. That’s the website of the Theodore Payne Foundation, the terrific local non-profit dedicated to educating people about California’s native plants and flowers.