Salal


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British Columbia Outdoor Wilderness Guide
Salal
(Gaultheria shallon)

Salal can be upright or ground crawling, and grows from 0.2 to 5 metres in height. Salal can be sparse or form a dense barrier almost impossible to penetrate.

Salal spreads by suckering layer upon layer and is probably the most dominant shrub in the British Columbia coastal forest area.


LEAVES:
- spoon shaped and pointed, 2 to 4 inches long
- shiny dark green, leathery and tough
- finely toothed edges
- evergreen
FLOWERS:
- bell shaped hanging like necklace beads along the end of the twigs; they all face downwards
- pinkish or white
- bloom from May to July
- 7-10 mm. long, can be larger at the end of the branch (up to 15 mm.)
SalalFRUIT:
- black, reddish-blue or dark purple 'berries' 6-10 mm. long; somewhat hairy
HABITAT:
- Salal grows from sea level to mid elevations.
- Salal is found in coniferous coastal forests and sometimes around Kootenay Lake in southeastern BC.
FASCINATING FACTS:
- the strong, flexible branches and stems of the Salal plant are well designed to withstand the wet heavy snows; they merely bend instead of breaking
- Salal berries have long been a major food source for BC's native peoples.

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Salal