Indicator Plants

Gaultheria shallon – salal

Common Name


Alternate Common Names
  • shallon


Scientific Name

Gaultheria shallon

Soil Moisture Regime (SMR)
  • Dry (D)
  • Moderately Dry (MD)
  • Medium (M)
Soil Nutrient Regime (SNR)
  • Poor (P)

Botanical Drawing

Hitchcock, C. Leo, and Arthur Cronquist. Flora of the Pacific Northwest: An Illustrated Manual © 1973. Reprinted with permission of the University of Washington Press.

General / Habitat
  • Very common understory shrub in coastal BC, especially common in drier coniferous forests, also found in wet or boggy forests and along coast
  • Low to medium elevations
Key Identifying Characteristics
  • Form: Creeping to erect, up to several meters tall
  • Leaves: Leathery, shiny, evergreen and egg-shaped with point at end; 5-10 cm long with fine toothing
  • Flowers: White to pinkish and urn-shaped; 7-10 mm in size; point down from branch ends, with 5-15 on each branch
  • Fruit: Reddish blue to dark purple berries 6-10 mm across; edible
Interesting Characteristics
  • Important food for numerous coastal peoples due to its abundance and edible berries

Douglas, G.W. et al (Editors). 1998-2002. Illustrated Flora of British Columbia, Volumes 1 to 8. B.C. Min. Environ., Lands and Parks, and B.C. Min. For., Victoria, B.C.

Pojar, J. and A. MacKinnon. 2014. Plants of Coastal British Columbia Including Washington, Oregon & Alaska. B.C. Ministry of Forestry and Lone Pine Publishing. Vancouver, B.C.


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