Salal (Gaultheria shallon) is found at Leaning Oaks in scattered patches and we retained many of them when we were developing the garden here. With their evergreen leathery leaves, and edible berry, they are valuable landscape plants, growing in both sun and shade and requiring no supplemental watering. The berry makes an excellent jam/jelly with a foxy flavour that pairs well with game meats and as jam on toast. Salal was an important plant in our family when we were growing up. Our parents, as well as us boys, made extra pocket money picking salal on Salt Spring Island for commercial buyers based out of the Cowichan Valley. I still can't walk past a stand of salal without looking for those prized stems that had a flat spray of evenly spaced, blemish-free leaves. The smell of bundles of salal that were brought into the basement so they could be sorted and carefully picked over so that blemished or torn leaves could be taken off the stems is one of those smells of my childhood.
Two biologists on a beautiful property armed with cameras, smart phones and a marginal knowledge of websites took up the challenge of documenting one species a day on that property. Join along! Posts and photographs by Leah Ramsay and David Fraser (unless otherwise stated; started January 1, 2014.