Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is a plant that is native to coastal parts of central California up north to Alaska. It’s in the blueberry family and indeed its fruit looks and taste much like a blueberry. Its flowers are much like that of a blueberry with the typical bell shape, however, they are also a bit hairy with a beautiful star pattern on them. And this weekend I tasted the flowers for the first time as a tiny trail nibble. Incredible! Sweet nectar with a bit of astringency and an amazing crunch! Crunchiest flowers I’ve ever eaten.
They are beautiful plants that grow in and around and in between coastal forests. Please plant them in your landscape! (They like acid soil like blueberries)
Another amazing attribute is that they seem to grow in environments that most often at least in California are usually covered with poison oak. In some forests, instead of poison oak making impenetrable thickets in the understory, it’s all Salal and no poison oak!