Gaultheria Shallon

Gaultheria

Gaultheria is a genus of about 170-180 species of shrubs in the family Ericaceae. The name memorializes M. Hugues Gauthier of Quebec, a mis-spelt honour bestowed by the Scandinavian Pehr Kalm in 1748. These plants are native to Asia, North and South America, and Australasia. In the past, the Southern Hemisphere species were often treated in a separate genus Pernettya; however, there is no consistent reliable morphological or genetic difference to support recognition of two genera, and they are now united in the single genus Gaultheria.

The species vary from low, ground-hugging shrubs less than 10 cm tall, up to 2.5 m tall, or, in the case of G. fragrantissima from the Himalaya, even a small tree up to 5-6 m tall. The leaves are evergreen, alternate (opposite in G. oppositifolia from New Zealand), simple, and vary between species from 0.3-10 cm long; the margins are finely serrated or bristly in most species, but entire in some. The flowers are solitary or in racemes, bell-shaped, with a five-lobed corolla; flower colour ranges from white to pink to red. The fruit is a fleshy berry in many species, a dry capsule in some, with numerous small seeds.Selected species

  • Gaultheria adenothrix
  • Gaultheria antarctica
  • Gaultheria antipoda
  • Gaultheria caudata
  • Gaultheria codonantha
  • Gaultheria cumingiana
  • Gaultheria cuneata
  • Gaultheria depressa
  • Gaultheria eriophylla
  • Gaultheria forrestii
  • Gaultheria fragrantissima
  • Gaultheria hirtiflora
  • Gaultheria hispida
  • Gaultheria hispidula
  • Gaultheria hookeri
  • Gaultheria humifusa
  • Gaultheria insana
  • Gaultheria itoana
  • Gaultheria lanceolata
  • Gaultheria lanigera
  • Gaultheria macrostigma
  • Gaultheria miqueliana
  • Gaultheria mucronata
  • Gaultheria myrsinoides
  • Gaultheria nummularioides
  • Gaultheria oppositifolia
  • Gaultheria ovatifolia
  • Gaultheria parvula
  • Gaultheria phillyreifolia
  • Gaultheria procumbens
  • Gaultheria pumila
  • Gaultheria pyroloides
  • Gaultheria renjifoana
  • Gaultheria rupestris
  • Gaultheria semi-infera
  • Gaultheria shallon
  • Gaultheria sinensis
  • Gaultheria stapfiana
  • Gaultheria tasmanica
  • Gaultheria tetramera
  • Gaultheria thymifolia
  • Gaultheria tricophylla
  • Gaultheria veitchiana
  • Gaultheria wardii
  • Gaultheria yunnanensis
  • Uses

    Several species are grown as ornamental shrubs in gardens, particularly G. mucronata from southern Chile and G. shallon (Salal) from the Pacific Northwest of North America. The fruit of many species is edible, though insipid in flavour so not extensively eaten. However, it is possible to make a strong minty tea from the leaves. There are several recipes available on the internet that involve fermenting the leaves to draw out the wintergreen taste.

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