Gaultheria shallon (Salal)

Found January 20th 1806 By Captain Lewis

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Salal (Gaultheria shallon is a sturdy and abundant shrub natively found widely along the pacific coast. This Hardy shrub grows to 3-6' under evergreens commonly. Leaves are dark green, simple, persistent, alternate and ovate to oval with finely serrate margins.. The flowers are usually white or pink. Fruits are edible berries dark blue to black in color. It has long been a prized plant in the Pacific N.W. for many walks of life. Florist's love salal as the leaves are a beautiful dark green and are easily found and obtained.
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Salal is in the Ericaceae family which is quite a large family. It's genus as stated above is Gaultheria, and its species in this case is Gaultheria shallon Pursh. One way a person can identify this plants family at least is by its leathery thick leaves which have a gloss over them. Its inflorescence is bracteate raceme. It's fruit is a delicious berry, the fruit is composed of thickened sepals that enclose the seeds . Because Salal is extremely adaptable, it is able to grow in shade, sun, humus, infertile, dry or moist soils too. Once established, salal easily thrives on its own which makes it a great plant for peoples landscape. Flowers Bloom from May to July and are showy. The plant is Monoecious.

Other interesting information: Salal has been used and loved by pacific northwesterners for a long time now(200+ years). Native americans have had multiple uses for it. The berries for one are delicious and can be eaten raw or dried. Leaves of the plant were chewed as a sort of appetite depressant by natives. The leaves and branches were often used for cooking meats in order to hold it together. Many people today still collect the berries to make jams and preserves.

Because salal grows quickly and its roots are deep, after forest fires it is usually one of the first things to grow back. However, because of its adaptiveness, in certain areas it has almost become sort of an invasive type plant cover other natives. This can happen in fertile soils with high acid levels.

Works Cited:

Hansen, Wallace. "Gaultheria Shallon (Salal)." NW Plants. Hansens Northwest Native Plant Database, 2012. Web. 3 June 2015.

Brun, Charles. "Salal." PNW Plants WSU. WSU, 2015. Web. 3 June 2015. .

Kamp, Mimi. Plant Illustrations. Digital image. Southwest School of Botanical Medicine. 3 June 2015. Web.

Author, No. Picture of Salal and Flowers. Digital image. KXRO News Radio. 3 June 2015. Web.