Herb: Shallon

Latin name: Gaultheria shallon

Family: Ericaceae (Heath Family)

Medicinal use of Shallon:

A poultice of the toasted, pulverized leaves has been applied to cuts. A poultice of the chewed leaves has been applied to burns and sores. The leaves have been chewed to dry the mouth. An infusion of the leaves have been used as a stomach tonic and a treatment for diarrhoea, coughs, TB etc.

Description of the plant:


120 cm
(4 feet)

May to

Habitat of the herb:

Grows on sandy or peaty soils in shady positions from the coast up to elevations of 800 metres.

Edible parts of Shallon:

Fruit - raw, cooked or dried for later use. Sweet and juicy with a pleasant flavour, it makes good raw eating. The fruit can also be made into preserves, pies, drinks etc or be dried and used like raisins. The fruit is about 10mm in diameter and is produced over a period of several weeks in late summer. A pleasant tea is made from the leaves.

Other uses of the herb:

A purple dye is obtained from the fruit. It is dark green. A greenish-yellow dye is obtained from the infused leaves. A ground cover plant for a shady position under trees, spreading slowly by means of suckers. It should be spaced about 90cm apart each way.

Propagation of Shallon:

The seed requires a period of cold stratification. Pre-chill for 4 - 10 weeks and then surface sow in a lime-free compost in a shady part of the greenhouse and keep the compost moist. The seed usually germinates well, usually within 1 - 2 months at 20C, but the seedlings are liable to damp off. It is important to water them with care and to ensure that they get plenty of ventilation. Watering them with a garlic infusion can also help to prevent damping of. Prick out the seedlings into individual pots when they are about 25mm tall and grow them on in light shade in the greenhouse for at least their first winter. Plant them out in late spring or early summer. The seedlings are susceptible to spring frosts so might need some protection for their first few years outdoors. The leaves remain very small for the first few years. Cuttings of half-ripe wood 3 - 6cm long, July/August in a frame in a shady position. They form roots in late summer or spring. A good percentage usually take. Division in spring when new growth is about 7cm tall. Divided plants can be rather slow to get established. We have found that it is best to pot up the clumps and grow them on in a shady position in a cold frame until they are rooting well. Plant them out in the spring.

Cultivation of the herb:

Grows on sandy or peaty soils in shady positions from the coast up to elevations of 800 metres.

Known hazards of Gaultheria shallon:

None known

Plant information taken from the Plants For A Future.