Among the first small trees or large shrubs to bloom in western Washington, Oregon, northern California, and British Columbia are the hazelnuts, Corylus avellana (common filbert or European hazelnut) and Corylus cornuta (beaked hazelnut). To the untrained eye these two can be difficult to distinguish.
Thick, leathery, glossy, evergreen foliage makes salal (Gaultheria shallon) desirable both in the garden and in the florist’s palette. This time of year you won’t find either flowers or fruit on salal — those will come in the warm months — but the foliage provides a comforting green layer at the edge of woodlands. Salal is particularly common along the Pacific coast from southeast Alaska all the way down to Santa Barbara county, California. It also grows up into the middle elevations of the Cascade and Coast Ranges. Continue reading