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Salal-Lemon Leaf (Ericaceae)
The salal plant is better known as gaultheria shallon, or shallon. It is from the heather family and has a unique shape for its blooms. It appears to be leathery and dangles from a slightly curved stem.
These are fairly low growing shrubs that have evergreen leaves. The leaves also have a leathery appearance and are a darker green. It is native to western North American and is also found in Europe.
Salal Common Species Information And Description
Gaultheria procumbens is also referred to as the tea berry plant. It may also be called boxberry or wintergreen berry in some areas. An annual life cycle is used to produce slightly fragrance blooms.
The fruits produced are often edible, and have a mint flavoring. Fruit is only produced when it is grown in areas that have enough sun. This makes placement an important factor when adding it to gardens.
Gaultheria hispidula is typically called the creeping snowberry plant. In parts of North America it is an endangered species and protected. The creeping vines are thin, about the size of a finger for most.
It grows up to six inches high and has a tendency to become matted. This occurs when the vines begin to climb over each other in areas. Flowers appear translucent white and are soon followed by berries.
G. shallon is most often thought of when looking for salal plants. Left to grow unchecked it can form dense coverage in any landscaping. This can require some upkeep if used as a ground cover or in a garden.
The dark berries and young leaves that are produced are also edible. It has long been used as an appetite suppressant by many cultures. Berries are also used in jams or to sweeten baked goods or as candies.
The leaves have long been used as an astringent for herbal medicine. It is also thought to have anti-inflammatory properties as extracts. Its full value in the realm of medicine has not been fully researched.
Growing Conditions For Gardens And Landscaping
In many zones, this plant is hardy and can adapt to weather changes. It prefers acidic soil that is both rich and well drained from water. Some species may be more tolerant of the soil conditions than others.
Drought resistant species have been cultivated for harsher areas. These are often ideal for areas that may have watering restrictions. It may also thrive in areas where the soil conditions are poor.
In poor conditions, plants may only reach a height of one to two feet. Well nourished plants will thrive and reach tall heights at maturity. This makes it important to check water and soil before planting.
Partial shade should be used for most species to prevent scorching. While some hybrids may flourish in full sun, the blooms are delicate. They may wilt or fail to flourish if exposed to high heat or sun.
Certain types of salal will be available only in certain areas. Locations such as Boca Raton, FL, Cincinnati, OH, Chattanooga, TN, Abilene, TX, and Salinas, CA can have varying types of species so be sure to call and check in if you are requesting a specific type.
Popular Meanings And Symbolism For Gaultheria
This plant is used to represent zest for love, loved ones or life. It can be combined with other flowers to enhance the intended meaning. Sprays may also be given as a corsage or added to a bouquet as filler.
These are popular as dried flowers and are often used in arrangements. The blooms may need careful handling to prevent any breakage issues. Salal blooms often retain their color for some time after they dry.