Plant Profile: Salal

NW Plant Profile #2 – Salal (Gaultheria Shallon) In my previous Oregon-grape post I briefly mentioned another berry native to the Northwest called the salal. Salal (gaultheria shallon), also known as shallon, is a perennial shrub native to the west coast of America and Canada, ranging from California through British Columbia and Alaska. In the Northwest salal was eaten by the native Haida people after being mixed with Oregon-grape, salmon eggs, or dried into cakes, while today it is used in preserves, jams, or pies. Salal berries, while referred to most commonly as such, are actually sepals, a type of leaf that grows at the base of the flower. In most plants the sepals will wither, but in some species they instead swell into an edible fruit-like form. In the case of salal, the sepals ripen in August and September into a shape and color that resembles dark blueberries. Fans of foraging find the salal in abundance in Oregon, and describe the taste as similar to blueberries yet unique. In the spring, before the berries have formed, young leaves will be available that are also edible. Just like the berries, the young leaves are an appetite suppressant, and make forContinue readingPlant Profile: SalalContinue readingPlant Profile: Salal

Plant Profile: Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape (Mahonia Aquifolium) The Oregon-grape (Mahonia Aquifolium) is a species of evergreen shrub native to western North America and the state flower of Oregon. Its name comes from the densely clustered purplish berries that ripen in late Fall, rather than from being related to any true grapes. Its species name, aquifolium, means “holly-leaved”, referring to the Oregon-grape’s spiny edged leaves which resemble that of a holly plant. These features lead some to refer to the Oregon-grape as the Oregon grape-holly or Oregon holly-grape in order to separate it from both grapes and hollies. In early summer the Oregon-grape becomes covered in clusters of small yellow flowers with six petals which add to the beauty of the dark green and reddish leaves. The attractive coloration and evergreen nature of the Oregon-grape make it a great choice for landscaping in the Northwest, with the added benefit of attracting local berry-eating wildlife, such as songbirds, in the Fall. The berries can also be eaten by people, although they have large seeds and are very tart. Most often they are made into jelly, with plenty of sugar, or traditionally mixed with the sweeter berries of the salal (gaultheria shallon) by native Pacific NorthwestContinue readingPlant Profile: Oregon GrapeContinue readingPlant Profile: Oregon Grape