Pavement to Parks

Okay, so it’s not exactly native habitat, but we love this video from Nice work San Francisco!



Gaultheria shallon

Photograph by Keith Lazelle

A great evergreen shrub that can be found all over the ground of native forests in the Pacific Northwest, salal can tolerate a range of conditions, from upland forests to wetter lowlands and prairie meadows.  As one of the best-known evergreen shrubs west of the Cascades, salal is often found under the dry shade of taller conifers.  The shrub can vary in height, depending on the habitat, ranging from only 20 inches to 10 feet or more.

While salal is slow to establish, it can be useful in controlling erosion, and can be a worthwhile addition to many types of gardens.  Salal produces small, downward-pointing whitish flowers that give way to round, dark purple berries. The leaves of the plant are ovate and finely toothed with a thick, leathery feel.  The nectar found in the flowers attracts butterflies, the foliage feeds larvae, and salal berries are also edible.  A recipe for salal berry jam can be found here.

View the Salal native plant ID card from WNPS.

Green Redmond Forest Steward Profile: Kaytlyn Sanders

Kaytlyn Sanders, Forest Steward at Viewpoint Park

Kaytlyn is a Forest Steward at the Viewpoint Neighborhood Park in Redmond, a 5-acre multi-use park.  While she has been a resident of nearby Bellevue since 2005, Kaytlyn has been involved at the park since last year, when she attended the Forest Steward orientation.

“It was really a no-pressure orientation, but it ended up being very inspiring,” Kaytlyn said.  Even if she hadn’t decided to become a Forest Steward, Kaytlyn said, she still would have found the orientation valuable.

“Attending the Forest Steward orientation can be helpful either way, even in park involvement,” she said.

As a Forest Steward, Kaytlyn organizes work parties at Viewpoint Neighborhood Park, enlisting the help of friends and neighborhood residents.

“It’s amazing to see the neighbors come out and help,” she said.  “And it’s good knowing you’re making a difference just down the street.”

According to Kaytlyn, the Green Redmond Partnership has been “phenomenal” in terms of helping with equipment and event planning.

“They know it’s not a full-time job for Forest Stewards, so they make sure to help us keep up,” she said.

Now in her second year at the Viewpoint Neighborhood Park, Kaytlyn is still inspired by the work she’s doing.

“I like that it’s very hands-on,” she said.  “Being a Forest Steward is more than just talking about environmental issues, it’s doing something about them.”

Thank you for all your hard work, Kaytlyn!  We’re lucky to have dedicated Forest Stewards like you in the parks.

Kaytlyn was already interested in becoming a Forest Steward when she attended the orientation.  If YOU are interested but not sure, why not attend?  You’ll learn a lot about restoring this region’s native vegetation, and get important information about dealing with invasive plants.  For more information, visit

Trailing blackberry

photograph by Kerry Neijstrom

Rubus ursinus

It’s high time we did a post on the mild-mannered cousin of the invasive blackberry we spend so much time trying to eradicate. Trailing blackberry is native to the northwest and also produces sweet berries from white to pink flowers. The smooth, thin, cylindrical stems have small thorns and a dull gray- green powdery coating, and trail delicately along the ground. The leaflets are toothed and split into three pointed leaflets.

These features set trailing blackberry apart from the invasive species, which have stiff, tall, arching, dark green stems with ridges and large thorns. The leaflets on the evergreen blackberry are deeply toothed and jagged-looking, on the Himalayan blackberry they are rounded. Both have five leaflets per leaf.

View the trailing blackberry native plant ID card from WNPS,

and take a look at the Himalayan and evergreen blackberry weed ID card to compare.