General: Creeping to erect shrub; stems branched, mostly to 1.5 m tall, but up to 3 m tall and sometimes forming impenetrable thickets, hairy.
Leaves: Alternate, evergreen, thick, leathery, egg-shaped to egg-shaped-elliptic, 3-9 cm long, 1.5-6.5 cm wide, usually abruptly sharp-pointed at tip, rounded or more or less heart-shaped at base, sharply and finely toothed, glabrous; stalks short.
Flowers: Inflorescences of 5-15 flowers in terminal and axillary, bracted racemes, 4-10 cm long, the flowering stems finely- and glandular-hairy; flowers all nodding, flower stalks 3-10 mm long, with 1-2 bracts; corollas white to pinkish, urn-shaped, 5-lobed, 7-9 mm long, short glandular-hairy; calyces soft glandular-hairy, about 1/2 the length of corolla; anthers with 4 slender apical awns, dehiscing by 2 large subterminal pores.
Fruits: Berrylike, purplish-black at maturity, glandular, hairy, fleshy, 5-10 mm wide.
This lovely BC native has leathery mid green, evergreen foliage on arching stems. The spring flowers hang like tiny white to pale pink bells and are followed by edible black berries that were prized by First Nations peoples. Great for the woodland garden, in dry shade...
Note Author: Gary Lewis, Phoenix Perennials
Ecological Framework for Gaultheria shallon
The table below shows the species-specific information calculated from original data (BEC database) provided by the BC Ministry of Forests and Range. (Updated August, 2013)
A shade-tolerant/intolerant, submontane to montane, Western North American evergreen shrub distributed mainly in the Pacific and marginally in the Cordilleran region. Occurs in hypermaritime to maritime cool mesothermal climates on nitrogen-poor soils; its occurrence decreases with increasing elevation and continentality. Often dominant in opencanopy coniferous forests on water-shedding sites; forms thickets on cutover areas with relatively undisturbed forest floors. On nutrient-rich sites, restricted to decaying coniferous wood; on wet sites, on topographic prominences. Absent or sporadic in the shaded understory of immature, closed-canopy stands. Due to its extensive horizontal root system in the uppermost soil layer and decay-resistant foliage and roots, high cover of salal reduces available soil water and/ or decomposition of forest floor materials. These features hinder forest regeneration and growth, particularly on moisture-deficient sites. An oxylophytic species characteristic of Mor humus forms.
Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2020. E-Flora BC:
Electronic Atlas of the Plants of British Columbia [eflora.bc.ca]. Lab for
Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British
Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed:
2021-07-30 8:11:16 PM
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