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Gaultheria shallon 11240.JPG
Plant Info
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Scientific classification
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Kingdom: Plantae
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Division: Magnoliophyta
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Class: Magnoliopsida
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Superorder: {{{superordo}}}
Order: Ericales
Suborder: {{{subordo}}}
Infraorder: {{{infraordo}}}
Superfamily: {{{superfamilia}}}
Family: Ericaceae
Subfamily: {{{subfamilia}}}
Supertribe: {{{supertribus}}}
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Genus: Gaultheria
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Species: G. shallon
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Binomial name
Gaultheria shallon
Trinomial name
Type Species

Salal (Gaultheria shallon, Ericaceae) is a leathery-leaved shrub native to western North America. Its dark blue "berries" (truly sepals[1]) are edible, with a unique flavor. Salal berries were a significant food resource for the native people, who both ate them fresh and dried them into cakes. They were also used as a sweetener, and the Haida used them to thicken salmon eggs. The leaves of the plant were also sometimes used to flavor fish soup.[1]

More recently, salal berries are used locally in jams, preserves and pies.[1][2] They are often combined with Oregon-grape because the tartness of the latter makes up for the mild sweetness of salal.

Salal is very tolerant of both open sun and shady conditions. In coastal areas it can form deep, nearly impenetrable thickets. It grows as far north as Baranof Island, Alaska.[1]

In the Pacific Northwest, the harvesting of Salal is the heart of a large export of evergreens in which it is sold to florists worldwide for use in floral arrangements.

Salal was introduced to Britain in 1928 by David Douglas, who intended for the plant to be used as an ornamental.[1] There it is usually known as Gaultheria and is believed to have been planted as cover for pheasants on shooting estates.[citation needed] It readily colonises heathland and acidic woodland habitats in southern England, often forming very tall and dense evergreen stands which smother other vegetation. Although heathland managers widely regard it as a problem weed on unmanaged heathland, it is readily browsed by cattle (especially in winter), and so where traditional grazing management has been restored the dense stands become broken up and the plant becomes a more scattered component of the heathland vegetation.

Notes and references



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