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Tree Campus: Salal

Tree Campus SCC is a multi-year and interdisciplinary college initiative to document, map, and celebrate the incredible diversity of trees planted on the campus. With over 200 species, Shoreline Community College is an arboreal paradise that deserves to b



t̕aqaʔac - S. Lushootseed

Gaultheria shallon (ERICACEAE)



W. North America



"In many areas, salal is browsed at least moderately by deer and elk. However, use varies geographically as well as seasonally. Salal is heavily browsed by black-tailed deer on the Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia. Persistent leaves enhance winter value, and in many areas, including the Oregon Coast Range, salal is an important winter food for black-tailed deer and mule deer . Deer use is often heaviest when other low-growing species become covered with snow. High elevation stands are generally not used by deer in winter.

Salal fruit is readily eaten by many birds and mammals. The band-tailed pigeon, wrentit, ruffed, spruce, and blue grouse, and numerous songbirds feed on "berries" when available . In some areas, blue grouse chicks exhibit a marked preference for salal fruit, and both chicks and adults consume large numbers during July and August. Some hummingbird use of flowers has also been reported. Black-tailed deer of western Washington consume the flowers of salal. Mammals such as the red squirrel, black bear, black-tailed deer, Townsend's chipmunk, and Douglas' squirrel also feed on salal fruit.

Salal provides important cover for a variety of wildlife species. Western hemlock/dwarf Oregon grape-salal, western hemlock/vine maple-salal, and Sitka spruce-salal communities offer good hiding cover for deer and elk, although dense shrub development can sometime limit big game use. Red huckleberry-salal shrubfields protect black-tailed deer from winter winds." [1]


Equity: Cultural and Historical Significance

"Fruit of salal was traditionally utilized by many native peoples of the Northwest. The spicy fruit was eaten fresh, dried, or mashed into cakes. Leaves were dried, mixed with kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos spp.) and smoked. Teas made from the leaves were used to treat coughs, tuberculosis, and diarrhea.

Salal is cultivated as an ornamental. Plants are used in landscaping  and serve as an excellent ground cover. Salal can be used to attract wildlife species to backyard gardens.

The sweet, "bland but pleasant" fruit can be used alone or mixed with other wild berries to make jellies or preserves. Approximately 8 minutes of harvesting is required to collect 0.44 pint (250 ml) of fruit. Many species of Gaultheria contain oil of wintergreen and can be used as flavoring agents." [1]



"Once established, salal spreads aggressively and is well-suited for use as a ground cover on erosive banks, roadcuts, highway right-of-ways, and other types of reclaimed ground. It can also aid in stabilizing coastal dunes and in protecting vulnerable watersheds...

The attractive foliage is used by florists under the name "lemon leaf" as an addition to cut flowers." [1]



[1] Tirmenstein, D. 1990. Gaultheria shallon. In: Fire Effects Information System,. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station, Fire Sciences Laboratory (Producer). Available:

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