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Ribes sanguineum
Ribes sanguineum

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RIBES

Currant, Gooseberry
Grossulariaceae (Saxifragaceae)
Deciduous, Shrubs

Those without spines are called currants; those with spines are known as gooseberries. The following species are grown ornamentally. Members of this genus are alternate hosts to white pine blister rust and are still banned in a few areas where white pines grow.

Ribes aureum

Nativeto inland regions of the West.Erect growth to 3–6 ft. tall andwide. Light green leaves withlobed, toothed edges. Small,bright yellow spring flowers,usually with a spicy fragrance,in 1–2 1/2-in.-long clusters. Summerberries turn from yellowto red to black. Moderate toregular water. Rust-resistant‘Crandall’ (R. odoratum ‘Crandall’)has large, shiny black fruitwith the rich, sweet-tart flavorof R. nigrum. R. a. gracillimum,the more tender Californiaform (Zones 6–10, 14–24), hasunscented blooms that age toreddish orange.

Ribes indecorum

Native to Coast Rangesin Southern California. To 6–9 ft. tall, 4–6 ft. wide. Thickish,scallop-edged leaves to 1 1/2 in.long; dark green and roughlyhairy above, white and fuzzybeneath. Clusters of smallwhite flowers enclosed in pinkbracts put on a good show inwinter. Needs no irrigation butwill tolerate garden watering.

Ribes malvaceum

Native to slopes in California’sCoast Ranges. To 5 ft. tall andwide, with hairy, roundish dullgreen leaves and short clustersof fragrant pink flowers throughoutfall, winter. Red fruit. Needsno irrigation, but give it moderatewater if you don’t want it togo dormant in summer.

Ribes sanguineum
Ribes sanguineum

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Ribes sanguineum

To 5–12 ft. tall and wide,with maplelike, dark green,2 1/2-in.-wide leaves. In spring, produces drooping, 2–4-in.-long clusters of 10–30 small deep pink to red flowers. Blue-black fruit has a whitish bloom. Most commonly sold is R. s. glutinosum (more southerly in origin than the species); its blossoms are typically deep or pale pink, carried in clusters of 15–40.

Ribes speciosum

Native near coast,from central coast of Californiasouth to Baja California. Erectto 4–8 ft. tall, 6–10 ft. wide,with spiny, often bristly stems.Thick-textured, maplelike, 1-in.leaves are glossy dark greenabove, lighter beneath. Deepcrimson to cherry red flowers,borne winter to spring, aredrooping and fuchsia-like, withlong, protruding stamens.Gummy, bristly red berries.Excellent barrier. Needs no irrigation,but moderate waterkeeps it nearly evergreen insummer (it can also take regularmoisture). Partial shade inhottest climates.

Ribes viburnifolium

Nativeto Catalina Island, Baja California.To 3–6 ft. tall, spreading to12 ft. wide. Wine red stems arearching or half trailing; they mayroot in moist soil. Roundish,leathery dark green leaves arefragrant after rain or whencrushed (some liken the scentto pine, others to apples). Lightpink to purplish flowers frommidwinter into spring. Red berries.To keep plant low, cut outupright-growing stems. Needspartial shade in hottest climates.Needs no irrigation butcan take moderate water. Goodon banks or under native oakswhere watering is undesirable.

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