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Matias and other workers sell the salal to Continental Floral, the largest floral foliage-producing company in the Pacific Northwest.

Mother’s Day is the company’s busiest time selling salal, with Valentine’s Day coming in second. “Not everyone has a girlfriend or wife, but everyone has a mother,” said Scott Schauer, general manager.

The salal plants are harvested by individuals with permits, cleaned and packaged at Continental and then distributed around the world. On average, the company dispatches 15 shipping containers of salal worldwide each week.

Schauer said brush picking has been an active industry in Washington state since at least 1915, and both sides of his grandparents have been brush pickers or managed brush plants. “Some of the ground that people pick on have been picked for 100 years,” he said. “At one time, it (salal) was a cottage industry. One hundred years later, it’s one of the three most used foliages used in floral arrangements in the world.”