Salal Plant Facts | Salal Propagation | Salal Recipe

Salal Plant Facts include multiple names like shallon, gaultheria and (Gaultheria shallon). This perennial upright, leathery leaved bush that is in the heather family is native to western North America. It can grow to 10’ tall in the shade and 2 feet tall in the sun. This common understory shrub is hardy in USDA zone 6-9.  This berry is a great compliment to thimbleberry that we covered last week.

Salal Flower

Salal Flower


The leaves are evergreen and egg-shaped. The leaves are shiny and dark green on the upper surface, and rough and lighter green on the lower surface.  The leaves are 2-4inches long that are finely and sharply serrate.


Salal has 5 to 15 flowers at the ends of branches. The plants are monoecious, with the female portions hosting perfect, small (1/4”), urn-shaped, pink to white blossoms which are borne in elongated clusters, appearing in March through June.


Salal Plant Facts

Salal Plant Facts

The fruit ripens during late summer – usually August and September. Gather berries when they are deep blue, plump and tasty.


Propagation can be done by seed, layering, and softwood cuttings.  The seeds do not require stratification.

My Plants

I bought one of these last year from One Green World and planted it in the food forest.  It was very small when I received it but it seemed to survive the summer ok.  I’ll post an update on this plant in the spring.


The dark blue berries and young leaves are both edible and have a unique flavor.  Leaves were sometimes used to flavor fish soup.  Berries are used in jams, smoothies, fruit leathers, preserves, and pies as well as being eaten fresh out of hand.


Salal Bush

Salal Bush

“The medicinal uses of this plant are not widely known or used. However, the leaves have an astringent effect, making it an effective anti-inflammatory and anticramping herb. By preparing the leaves in a tea or tincture, one can take the herb safely to decrease internal inflammation such as bladder inflammation, stomach or duodenal ulcers, heartburn, indigestion, sinus inflammation, diarrhea, moderate fever, inflamed / irritated throat, and menstrual cramps. A poultice of the leaf can be used externally to ease discomfort from insect bites and stings.” *



Salal Berry Jam with Rosemary


  • 10 cups of salal berries, rinsed and off the stem
  • 4 TBLS of lemon juice
  • ¼ cup of water
  • Zest of one lemon
  • 2 TBLS of fresh rosemary, minced fine
  • A half cup of sugar (organic preferred) add more if you want it sweeter
  • ½ pack of liquid pectin
  • Equipment you need
  • 4 half pint jars, sterilized with hot water
  • Lids for the jars, sterilized
  • Rings of the lids
  • A big pot or canner to put the jelly jars into for a water bath


  1. First off sterilized your jelly jars by washing them in the dishwasher on the HOT water cycle or microwaving them full of water till they boil. Keep the jars warm while you make your jelly. I sterilized the lids by dropping them into a pot of boiling water that is off the heat. I leave them there until I am ready for them; then remove them from the hot water with a pair of tongs to place on the hot jars with jelly in them.
  2. Simmer the berries, lemon juice and water in a nice fat saucepot on medium heat. When the berries are getting broken down and the juice is very purple, about 10-15 minutes, mash the mix with a potato masher until it is all a fine mess. At this point you’ll want to strain it. You can do that by pressing it through a fine mesh or processing in a food mill. (You can skip this step if you want but the skins are kinda tough)
  3. Return the salal berry mash to the saucepot and add the sugar, pectin, lemon zest and rosemary and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Remove from the heat and pour into your hot sterilized jars, put your hot lids on with the rings and put in a hot water bath for 10 minutes. Turn off the water bath, let cool for about 10 minutes, remove the jelly jars onto a heat proof surface, and let set over night. Don’t touch them or jiggle them so they can seal. In the morning, tap the lids and you will be able to hear a tight sound if they are sealed. If not, open it up and eat it now! Keep in the fridge after opening.



Photos courtesy of


*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.  This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

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