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Gaultheria shallon - Pursh.
Common Name Shallon, Salal
Family Ericaceae
USDA hardiness 8-11
Known Hazards None known
Habitats Grows on sandy or peaty soils in shady positions from the coast up to elevations of 800 metres[60].
Range Western N. America - British Columbia to California. Occasionally naturalized in Britain.
Edibility Rating  
Other Uses  
Weed Potential No
Medicinal Rating  
Fully Hardy Well drained soil Moist Soil Full shade Semi-shade

Bloom Color: Pink, White. Main Bloom Time: Early summer, Late spring, Mid summer. Form: Spreading or horizontal.

Gaultheria shallon Shallon, Salal

Gaultheria shallon Shallon, Salal
Physical Characteristics
 icon of manicon of shrub
Gaultheria shallon is an evergreen Shrub growing to 1.2 m (4ft) by 1 m (3ft 3in) at a medium rate.
It is hardy to zone (UK) 5. It is in leaf 12-Jan It is in flower from May to June, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are hermaphrodite (have both male and female organs) and are pollinated by Insects.Suitable for: light (sandy) and medium (loamy) soils. Suitable pH: acid soils and can grow in very acid soils.
It can grow in full shade (deep woodland) or semi-shade (light woodland). It prefers dry or moist soil and can tolerate drought.


Woodland Garden Sunny Edge; Dappled Shade; Shady Edge; not Deep Shade; Ground Cover;
Edible Uses
Edible Parts: Fruit.
Edible Uses: Tea.

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use[2, 3, 4, 183]. Sweet and juicy with a pleasant flavour[11, 95, 101], it makes good raw eating[K]. The fruit can also be made into preserves, pies, drinks etc or be dried and used like raisins[183]. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter[200] and is produced over a period of several weeks in late summer[K]. A pleasant tea is made from the leaves[101].
Medicinal Uses

Plants For A Future can not take any responsibility for any adverse effects from the use of plants. Always seek advice from a professional before using a plant medicinally.

Astringent;  Poultice;  Stomachic.

A poultice of the toasted, pulverized leaves has been applied to cuts[257]. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been applied to burns and sores[257]. The leaves have been chewed to dry the mouth[257]. An infusion of the leaves have been used as a stomach tonic and a treatment for diarrhoea, coughs, TB etc[257].
Other Uses

A purple dye is obtained from the fruit[99]. It is dark green[168]. A greenish-yellow dye is obtained from the infused leaves[257]. A ground cover plant for a shady position under trees, spreading slowly by means of suckers[188]. It should be spaced about 90cm apart each way[208].
Cultivation details
Landscape Uses:Erosion control, Ground cover, Hedge, Massing. Prefers a moist but not boggy humus rich soil in shade or semi-shade[11, 182], but it can also succeed in full sun. A peat and moisture loving species, it requires a lime-free soil[11, 182]. One report says that it can succeed in dry shade[188] and another that it can withstand considerable drought once it is established[208]. Plants are hardy to about -20°c[184]. A vigorous suckering plant, it can be invasive when growing in good conditions, but responds to cutting back[1, 28]. It also succeeds when planted under trees[28, 49]. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus[200]. Special Features: North American native.
The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist[78]. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20°c, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of[K]. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter[K]. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years[11]. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring[78]. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring when new growth is about 7cm tall. Divided plants can be rather slow to get established[182]. We have found that it is best to pot up the clumps and grow them on in a shady position in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.
Other Names
Found In
Weed Potential

Right plant wrong place. We are currently updating this section. Please note that a plant may be invasive in one area but may not in your area so it’s worth checking.

Conservation Status
IUCN Red List of Threatened Plants Status :
Related Plants
Latin NameCommon NameEdibility RatingMedicinal Rating
Gaultheria adenothrix 30
Gaultheria antipodaSnowberry20
Gaultheria appressaWhite Waxberry20
Gaultheria cumingiana 22
Gaultheria depressaMountain Snowberry20
Gaultheria fragrantissimaFragrant Wintergreen22
Gaultheria griffithianum 20
Gaultheria hispidaSnowberry21
Gaultheria hispidulaCreeping Snowberry41
Gaultheria humifusaAlpine Wintergreen, Alpine spicywintergreen40
Gaultheria insana 11
Gaultheria japonicaCreeping Snowberry41
Gaultheria macrostigma 20
Gaultheria mucronata 40
Gaultheria myrsinoides 20
Gaultheria nummularioides 20
Gaultheria ovatifoliaMountain Checkerberry, Western teaberry30
Gaultheria procumbensCheckerberry, Eastern teaberry, Teaberry, Creeping Wintergreen43
Gaultheria pumila 20
Gaultheria pumila leucocarpa 20
Gaultheria pyroliifolia 20
Gaultheria pyroloides 30
Gaultheria rigida 10
Gaultheria sclelophylla 20
Gaultheria trichophylla 20
Gaultheria x wisleyensis 20
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Expert comment
Botanical References
Links / References
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Readers comment
Elizabeth H.
phil rooksby Fri Feb 29 2008
a photo of this (taken Feb 2008) is on our blogsite http://monkeyandsofia.blogspot.com/2008/02/have-cup-of-tea.html

monkey & sofia

Elizabeth H.
Jay Dawson Thu Dec 10 2009
This website lists this plant as toxic if eaten... http://www.burncoose.co.uk/site/plants.cfm?pl_id=1947 regards

Natasha L.
Jan 9 2012 12:00AM
Called "Salal" by locals (like me). The berries are best eaten before they get ripe (reddish color), or they get mealy and tasteless (black colored) - I know from experience. And no, as far as I know, they are not poisonous by any stretch of the imagination. The local deer live on the leaves and my goats will eat it to the ground if I let them.
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Subject : Gaultheria shallon  

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