Gaultheria shallon
Common name: 
Salal
Family: 
Ericaceae
Genus: 
Type: 
Broadleaf
Native to (or naturalized in) Oregon: 
Yes
  • Broadleaved evergreen shrub, less than 2 ft (0.6 m) tall in full sun and poor soil, but 4-10 ft (1.2-3 m) in shade and good soil, nearly equal spread, dense, developing into thickets, branches erect.  Leaves alternate, simple, oval-rounded, glossy bright green, 5-10 cm long, bristly serrate.  Flowers urn-shaped, white or pinkish, borne in late spring.  Fruit, 1 cm rounded, black, ripen in summer, edible but bland.  Birds attracted to the fruit.
  • Sun or part shade, acid soils, good companion for rhododendron and ferns. Difficult to transplant.  Sold by florists as "lemon leaves".
  • Hardy to USDA Zone 6      Native to western North America, from Alaska to California, where it is a common forest understory shrub.  Predominantly found at lower elevations due to its frost sensitivity.  
  • David Douglas (1799–1834), the famous Scottish plant explorer, on April 8, 1826, after a nearly 9 month voyage from England,  stepped on to land at Baker Bay not far from the mouth of the Columbia River.  He states in his Journal, “Gaultheria Shallon was the first plant I took in my hands. So pleased was I that I could scarcely see anything but it. Mr. Menzies [Archibald Menzies who visited the Pacific Northwest in 1792] correctly observes that it grows under thick pine-forests in great luxuriance and would make a valuable addition to our gardens”. Douglas brought seed to Britain in 1828 so the plant could be used as a garden ornamental.
  • Gaultheria: after Jean-François Gaulthier (c. 1708-1758), botanist and physician of Quebec. shallon: the native name
  • Oregon State Univ. campus: west of Milam Hall.
Click image to enlarge
  • plant habit, spring

    plant habit, spring

  • plant habit, late spring flowering

    plant habit, late spring flowering

  • leaves

    leaves

  • flowers

    flowers

  • plant habit, summer

    plant habit, summer

  • shoot

    shoot

  • leaf and margin

    leaf and margin

  • plant habit, fruiting

    plant habit, fruiting

  • ripening fruit

    ripening fruit

  • fruit cluster and fruit

    fruit cluster and fruit