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Home > Landscaping > Native Plants for Western Washington Gardens and Restoration Projects



Gaultheria shallon

Salal

Flowering Period: May, Jun May June
Flower color: white
Full sun Mostly sunny Partial sun Mostly shady Full shade
Moist soil Dry soil


At a Glance: Creeping to erect shrub with hairy branching stems and dark leathery leaves.

Height: Up to 16 feet (5 meters) in exceptional cases but typically 3-7 feet (1-2 m) tall.
Growth Form: Shrub.
Stems: Hairy, branched.
Leaves: Alternate, evergreen, leathery, shiny dark green, sharply and finely toothed, egg shaped, 5-10 cm (2-4 in) long; color: dark leathery green.
Flowers: Occur in racemes of 5-15 urn-shaped flowers, all oriented in same direction; primary color: white-pinkish; size: 7-10 mm long.
Flowering Period: May, June.
Fruits: The "berries" are actually the fleshy sepals, edible, the true fruit is a capsule surrounded by the fleshy calyx; shape: round; size: 6-10 mm broad; color: reddish-blue to dark purple.

Gaultheria shallon
Photo © Starflower Foundation
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Sun/Shade Tolerance Hydrology Elevation Range
Versatile.

full sun > 80%
mostly sunny 60%-80%
partial sun and shade 40%- 60%
mostly shady 60%-80%
full shade > 80%

wet
moist
dry

low elevation
mid elevation
sub-alpine
high elevation


Soil Preferences
sandy soils
gravelly soils
clay soils
muddy soils
peaty soils
well drained soils
shallow soils
deep soils
acidic soils
basic soils
humic soils
nutrient rich soils
nutrient poor soils
mineral soils
organic soils

Habitat Preferences
Aquatic and Wetland:
Ponds or lakes
Shallow pools
Sloughs
Swales or wet ditches
Seasonally inundated areas
Marshes or swamps
Aquatic bed wetlands
Emergent wetlands
Scrub-shrub wetlands
Forested wetlands
Bogs, fens
Seeps, springs
Shorelines and Riparian:
Lake shores
Bog margins
Streams or rivers
Stream or river banks
Riparian corridors
River bars
Floodplains
Bottomlands
Alluvial areas
Saltwater Areas:
In or near saltwater
Mud flats
Tidal areas
Estuaries
Saltmarshes
Brackish water
Seashores
Coastal dunes or beaches
Rocky or Gravelly Areas:
Coastal bluffs
Cliffs
Rocky slopes
Outcrops
Crevices
Glacial outwash
Gullies
Slide areas
Sub-alpine and Alpine:
Heaths
Snow beds
Tundra
Avalanche tracks
Forests and Thickets:
Forests and woods
Open forests
Coniferous forests
Old growth forests
Deciduous forests
Mixed forests
Nurse logs
Forest edges, openings, or clearings
Thickets
Meadows and Fields:
Pastures or fields
Meadows or grassy areas
Mossy areas
Disturbed Areas:
Roadsides
Trailsides
Logged sites
Burned areas
Disturbed sites

Wildlife Value
Berries
Seeds
Nectar for hummingbirds
Nectar for butterflies
Host for insect larvae
Thickets and shelter
Thorny or protective cover

Birds: Grouse, band-tailed pigeons, towhees, and other ground-feeding birds.
Insects: Brown elfin butterfly larvae eat the twigs.
Mammals: Bear, foxes, coyotes, and other smaller mammals eat the berries. Deer and elk eat the twigs.


Ethnobotanical Uses and Other Facts
Material Uses: Haida used the berries to thicken salmon eggs. Leafy branches used in pit cooking and as flavoring for fish by the Saanich and other Vancouver Island Salish groups. The Nuu-chah-nulth made a purple stain from the berries. Leaves can be rolled into a cone to form a makeshift cup.
Medicinal Uses: Young leaves chewed by the Ditidaht to suppress hunger. The leaves were chewed and spit onto burns by the Klallam.
Food Uses: Berries eaten fresh and dried by most Northwest Coast peoples. Kwakwakawakw ate the berries ripe and dipped in oolichan grease at feasts. Berries were mixed with others in cakes and traded Berries have been made into jam and preserves.
Landscape Uses: Used as garden ornamental in Britain. Spreads easily once established.
Name Info: "Salal" is the native peoples name for the species.
Interesting Facts: Long lasting leaves are used by florists. Raised commercially by some growers.



Suggested References



The landscaping and restoration information provided on this page is taken from the Starflower Foundation Image Herbarium. All photographs © Starflower Foundation unless otherwise noted.