Gaultheria shallon


Habit: an evergreen shrub that varies in height depending on light and soil, either creeping along the ground or growing to heights of 6 ft (2 m) forming dense, nearly impenetrable thickets. New stems are hairy and reddish brown, bark becomes grayish brown and scaly with age. The thick, leathery leaves are oval, dark green and shiny, with the base being wide and broadly curved, ending in a pointed tip. Flowers are small with the whitish pink petals fused together to form an upside down urn shaped cup, the inflorescence is an elongated spike. The fruit is a small dark purple to bluish berry covered in tiny hairs. Blooms from March through June.

Ecology: moist forest margins, coastal bluffs, and humid and temperate locations, along the Pacific Coast inland to the western slope of the Cascades and Coast Ranges to Southern Alaska usually at lower elevations.

Growing Conditions: full to partial shade, moist to semi dry acidic soil, tolerate of coastal conditions.

An easy groundcover with edible, sweet berries. Salal provides important cover for a variety of wildlife and many birds and mammals readily eat the fruit.

Always seek advice from a professional before consuming or using a plant medicinally.

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Type: Evergreen Shrub
Height: 1-6 ft (0.3-2 m)
Width: 1-6 ft (0.3-2 m)
USDA Zones: 8-10
Map courtesy of USDA-NRCS Plants Database.