Shrubs, creeping, not mat-forming, rhizomatous. Stems erect to partially erect, (greenish), 50-200+ cm, ± glandular-hairy, glabrescent. Leaf blades oval to ovate or orbiculate to reniform, 4-8+ cm, base rounded or cordate, margins serrulate (teeth fimbriate apically), apex mucronate/apiculate or aristate, surfaces glabrous. Inflorescences axillary, drooping, secund racemes; peduncle deep pink to red, 7-15+ cm, densely glandular-hairy; bracts white to light pink, deltate, 4-6 mm, not exceeding sepals, glandular-hairy marginally. Pedicels white, 7-10 mm, densely glandular-hairy; bracteoles 1-5, pinkish white, parallel-veined, oblanceolate, 3-5 mm, densely glandular-hairy. Flowers: sepals 5, distinct nearly to base, dark pink to red, narrowly deltate, 3.5-5 mm, glandular-hairy (hairs reddish); petals 5, connate nearly their entire lengths, white to light pink, 7-8 mm, densely glandular-hairy, corolla narrowly urceolate, lobes 1 mm; filaments widest proximally, glabrous, papillose; anthers with 2 apical, bifurcating awns, dehiscent by subterminal pores proximal to awns. Fruits black-purple, 6-8 mm wide. 2n = 22, 44. Flowering May-early Jul; fruiting late Jul-Sep. Woods and transition zones, moist soils, rocky or sandy cliffs, coastal bluffs; 0-1300 m; B.C.; Alaska, Calif., Oreg., Wash.; introduced in nw Europe. Fruits of Gaultheria shallon are a food source for animals, and the evergreen leaves provide additional food throughout the winter. This species has been used as a vegetative cover in disturbed areas because it spreads aggressively. The fresh and dried or smoked fruits were an important food of native peoples throughout its range. The evergreen leaves are used commercially in floral arrangements.