Salal Berries - Gaultheria Shallon
Salal [Gaultheria shallon or G. shallon] grows wild in the Pacific Northwest and as far nothr as central coastal Alaska. It is also cultivated both by private growers for its aesthetic and edible value and by commercial growers for use in floral arrangements.
The edible berries are purple black and similar to blueberries in appearance, although they have a faint peach fuzz like some raspberries. As the berries ripen they open a tad in anticipation of releasing their seeds, they are best when picked before they reach this stage. Salal is remotely reminiscent of blueberries so far as taste is concerned, although they would never mistake one for the other once tasted, salal is pleasantly unique.
The berries are also useful in preserves, jams, and assorted desserts. The leaves are edible but very astringent. They are sometimes used in medicinal applications as an anti inflammatory agent. Native Americans had multiple uses for the plant both culinary and medicinal.
It is a shade loving plant which thrives naturally in dense forests. In landscape scenarios it is commonly placed successfully in shaded areas of the yard where other plants can not survive. It can be grown in full sun, but will have stunted growth and substandard harvests.
USDA Zones 6-9.
Average Height 3 to 6 feet in shade. 2 to 3 feet in Sun
Soil pH Acidic at 5.8 to 6.8
Cold Stratification Required
If not maintained this plant tends to become invasive over time and spreads prolifically via runners which should be cut back periodically. Gaultheria shallon attracts pollinators unfortunately it also tends to attract ticks.
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